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NOV 14 191 






Copyright, 1912, by 

Published September, 1912 





Contrary to the popular and current impression, the 
most important body of sacred literature in Egypt is not 
the Book of the Dead, but a much older literature which 
we now call the "Pyramid Texts." These texts, pre- 
served in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasty Pyramids at Sak- 
kara, form the oldest body of literature surviving from the 
ancient world and disclose to us the earliest chapter in the 
intellectual history of man as preserved to modern times. 
They are to the study of Egyptian language and civiliza- 
tion what the Vedas have been in the study of early East 
Indian and Aryan culture. Discovered in 1880-81, they 
were published by Maspero in a pioneer edition which will 
always remain a great achievement and a landmark in 
the history of Egyptology. The fact that progress has 
been made in the publication of such epigraphic work is 
no reflection upon the devoted labors of the distinguished 
first editor of the Pyramid Texts. The appearance last 
year of the exhaustive standard edition of the hieroglyphic 
text at the hands of Sethe after years of study and arrange- 
ment marks a new epoch in the study of earliest Egyptian 
life and religion. How comparatively inaccessible the 
Pyramid Texts have been until the appearance of Sethe's 
edition is best illustrated by the fact that no complete 
analysis or full account of the Pyramid Texts as a whole 
has ever appeared in English, much less an English ver- 
sion of them. The great and complicated fabric of life 
which they reflect to us, the religious and intellectual 



forces which have left their traces in them, the intrusion 
of the Osiris faith and the Osirian editing by the hand of the 
earliest redactor in literary history — all these and many 
other fundamental disclosures of this earliest body of 
literature have hitherto been inaccessible to the English 
reader, and as far as they are new, also to all. 

It was therefore with peculiar pleasure that just after 
the appearance of Sethe's edition of the Pyramid Texts I 
received President Francis Brown's very cordial invita- 
tion to deliver the Morse Lectures at Union Theolog- 
ical Seminary on some subject in Egyptian life and civiliza- 
tion. While it was obviously desirable at this juncture 
to choose a subject which would involve some account of 
the Pyramid Texts, it was equally desirable to assign them 
their proper place in the development of Egyptian civiliza- 
tion. This latter desideratum led to a rather more am- 
bitious subject than the time available before the delivery 
of the lectures would permit to treat exhaustively, viz., to 
trace the development of Egyptian religion in its relation to 
life and thought, as, for example, it has been done for the 
Hebrews by modern critical and historical study. In the 
study of Egyptian religion hitherto the effort has perhaps 
necessarily been to produce a kind of historical encyclo- 
paedia of the subject. Owing to their vast extent, the 
mere bulk of the materials available, this method of study 
and presentation has resulted in a very complicated and 
detailed picture in which the great drift of the develop- 
ment as the successive forces of civilization dominated has 
not been discernible. There has heretofore been little at- 
tempt to correlate with religion the other great categories 
of life and civilization which shaped it. I do not mean 
that these relationships have not been noticed in certain 
epochs, especially where they have been so obvious as 


hardly to be overlooked, but no systematic effort has yet 
been made to trace from beginning to end the leading 
categories of life, thought, and civilization as they succes- 
sively made their mark on religion, or to follow religion 
from age to age, disclosing especially how it was shaped by 
these influences, and how it in its turn reacted on society. 
I should have been very glad if this initial effort at such 
a reconstruction might have attempted a more detailed 
analysis of the basic documents upon which it rests, and if 
in several places it might have been broadened and ex- 
tended to include more categories. That surprising group 
of pamphleteers who made the earliest crusade for social 
justice and brought about the earliest social regeneration 
four thousand years ago (Lecture VII) should be further 
studied in detail in their bearing on the mental and relig- 
ious attitude of the remarkable age to which they be- 
longed. I am well aware also of the importance and 
desirability of a full treatment of cult and ritual in such 
a reconstruction as that here attempted, but I have been 
obliged to limit the discussion of this subject chiefly to 
mortuary ritual and observances, trusting that I have not 
overlooked facts of importance for our purpose discerni- 
ble in the temple cult. In the space and time at my dis- 
posal for this course of lectures it has not been possible 
to adduce all the material which I had, nor to follow down 
each attractive vista which frequently opened so tempt- 
ingly. I have not undertaken the problem of origins in 
many directions, like that of sacred animals so prominent 
in Egypt. Indeed Re and Osiris are so largely anthro- 
pomorphic that, in dealing as I have chiefly with the Solar 
and Osirian faiths, it was not necessary. In the age dis- 
cussed these two highest gods were altogether human and 
highly spiritualized, though the thought of Re displays oc- 


casional relapses, as it were, in the current allusions to the 
falcon, with which he was so early associated. Another 
subject passed by is the concept of sacrifice, which I have 
not discussed at all. There is likewise no systematic dis- 
cussion of the idea of a god's power, though the material 
for such a discussion will be found here. I would have 
been glad to devote a lecture to this subject, especially in 
its relation to magic as a vague and colossal inexorability 
to which when invoked even the highest god must bow. 
Only Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton) seems to have outgrown 
it, because Oriental magic is., so largely demoniac and 
Amenhotep IV as a monotheist banished the demons and 
the host of gods. 

It will be seen, then, that no rigid outline of categories 
has been set up. I have taken those aspects of Egyptian 
religion and thought in which the development and expan- 
sion could be most clearly traced, the endeavor being 
especially to determine the order and succession of those 
influences which determine the course and character of 
religious development. It is of course evident that no 
such influence works at any time to the exclusion of all the 
others, but there are epochs when, for example, the influ- 
ence of the state on religion and religious thought first 
becomes noticeable and a determining force. The same 
thing is true of the social forces as distinguished from those 
of the state organization. This is not an endeavor, then, 
to trace each category from beginning to end, but to es- 
tablish the order in which the different influences which 
created Egyptian religion successively became the deter- 
mining forces. Beginning shortly after 3000 B.C. the sur- 
viving documents are, I think, sufficient to disclose these 
influences in chronological order as they will be found in 
the "Epitome of the Development ,, which follows this 


preface. Under these circumstances little effort to corre- 
late the phenomena adduced with those of other religions 
has been made. May I remind the reader of technical 
attainments also, that the lectures were designed for a 
popular audience and were written accordingly? 

Although we are still in the beginning of the study of 
Egyptian religion, and although I would gladly have car- 
ried these researches much further, I believe that the re- 
construction here presented will in the main stand, and 
that the inevitable alterations and differences of opinion 
resulting from the constant progress in such a field of 
research will concern chiefly the details. That the general 
drift of the religious development in Egypt is analogous to 
that of the Hebrews is a fact of confirmative value not 
without interest to students of Comparative Religion and 
of the Old Testament. 

I have been careful to make due acknowledgment in the 
foot-notes of my indebtedness to the labors of other 
scholars. The obligation of all scholars in this field to 
the researches of Erman and Maspero is proverbial, and, 
as we have said, in his new edition of the Pyramid Texts 
Sethe has raised a notable monument to his exhaustive 
knowledge of this subject to which every student of civil- 
ization is indebted. May I venture to express the hope 
that this exposition of religion in the making, during a 
period of three thousand years, may serve not only as a 
general survey of the development in the higher life of a 
great people beginning in the earliest age of man which 
we can discern at the present day, but also to emphasize 
the truth that the process of religion-making has never 
ceased and that the same forces which shaped religion in 
ancient Egypt are still operative in our own midst and 
continue to mould our own religion to-day? 


The reader should note that half brackets indicate some 
uncertainty in the rendering of all words so enclosed; 
brackets enclose words wholly restored, and where the half 
brackets are combined with the brackets the restoration 
is uncertain. Parentheses enclose explanatory words not 
in the original, and dots indicate intentional omission in 
the translation of an original. Quotations from modern 
authors are so rare in the volume, and so evident when 
made, that the reader may regard practically all passages 
in quotation marks as renderings from an original docu- 
ment. All abbreviations will be intelligible except BAR, 
which designates the author's Ancient Records of Egypt 
(five volumes, Chicago, 1905-07), the Roman indicating 
the volume, and the Arabic the paragraph. 

In conclusion, it is a pleasant duty to express my in- 
debtedness to my friend and one-time pupil, Dr. Caroline 
Ransom, of the Metropolitan Museum, for her kindness in 
reading the entire page-proof, while for a similar service, 
as well as the irksome task of preparing the index, I am 
under great obligation to the goodness of Dr. Charles 
R. Gillett, of Union Theological Seminary. 

James Henry Breasted. 

The University of Chicago, 
April, 1912. 


Nature furnishes the earliest gods — The national state 
makes early impression on religion — Its forms pass over 
into the world of the gods— Their origin and function in 
nature retire into the background — The gods become ac- 
tive in the sphere of human affairs — They are intellec- 
tualized and spiritualized till the human arena becomes 
their domain — The gods are correlated into a general 
system— In the conception of death and the hereafter 
we find a glorious celestial realm reserved exclusively for 
kings and possibly nobles — Herein, too, we discern the 
emergence of the moral sense and the inner life in their 
influence on religion — Recognition of futility of material 
agencies in the hereafter and resulting scepticism — Ap- 
pearance of the capacity to contemplate society — Recog- 
nition of the moral unworthiness of society and resulting 
scepticism — The cry for social justice — The social forces 
make their impression on religion — Resulting democrati- 
zation of the formerly royal hereafter — Magic invades 
the realm of morals — The Empire (the international state) 
and political universalism so impress religion that the 
"world-idea" emerges and monotheism results — Earliest 
manifestation of personal piety growing out of paternal 
monotheism and the older social justice — The individual 
in religion — The age of the psalmist and the sage — Sacer- 
dotalism triumphs, resulting in intellectual stagnation, the 
inertia of thoughtless acceptance, and the development 



ceases in scribal conservation of the old teachings — The 
retrospective age — A religious development of three thou- 
sand years analogous in the main points to that of the 



Nature and the State Make Their Impression 

on Religion — Earliest Systems .... 3 

Natural sources of the content of Egyptian religion chiefly two: the sun 
and the Nile or vegetation — The Sun-myth and the Solar theology— The 
national state makes its impression on religion — Re the Sun-god becomes 
the state god of Egypt — Osiris and his nature: he was Nile or the soil and 
the vegetation fructified by it — The Osiris-myth — Its early rise in the 
Delta and migration to Upper Egypt — Correlation of Solar and Osirian 
myths — Early appropriation of the Set-Horus feud by the Osirian myth — 
Solar group of nine divinities (Ennead) headed by the Sun-god early de- 
vised by the priests of Heliopolis — Early intimations of pantheism in Mem- 
phite theology — The first pilhosophico-religious system — Its world limited 
to Egypt. 


Life after Death — The Sojourn in the Tomb — 

Death Makes Its Impression on Religion 48 

(Period: earliest times to 25th century B. C.) 

Earliest Egyptian thought revealed in mortuary practices — The con- 
ception of a person : ka (or protecting genius) , body and soul — Reconstitu- 
tion of personality after death — Maintenance of the dead in the tomb — 
Tomb-building — Earliest royal tombs — Tombs of the nobles — Earliest 
embalmment and burial — Royal aid in mortuary equipment — Tomb en- 
dowment — Origin of the pyramid, greatest symbol of the Sun-god — The 
pyramid and its buildings — Its dedication and protection — Its endow- 
ment, ritual, and maintenance — Inevitable decay of the pyramid — Survival 
of death a matter of material equipment. 


Realms of the Dead — The Pyramid Texts — The 

Ascent to the Sky 70 

(Period: 30th to 25th century B. C.) 

The Pyramid Texts — The oldest chapter in the intellectual history of 
man — Earliest fragments before 3400 B. C. — Pyramid Texts represent a 



period of a thousand years ending in 25th century B. C. — Their purpose to 
ensure the king felicity hereafter — Their reflection of the life of the age — 
Their dominant note protest against death — Content sixfold: (1) Funerary 
and mortuary ritual; (2) Magical charms; (3) Ancient ritual of worship; 
(4) Ancient religious hymns; (5) Fragments of old myths; (6) Prayers on 
behalf of the king — Haphazard arrangement — Literary form: parallelism 
of members — Occasional display of real literary quality — Method of em- 
ployment — The sojourn of the dead in a distant place — The prominence 
of the east of the sky — The Stellar and Solar hereafter — The ascent to the 


Realms of the Dead— The Earliest Celestial 

Hereafter 118 

(Period: 30th to 25th century B. C.) 

Reception of the Pharaoh by the Sun-god — Association with the Sun- 
god — Identification with the Sun-god — The Pharaoh a cosmic figure su- 
perior to the Sun-god — Fellowship with the gods — Pharaoh devours the 
gods — The Pharaoh's food — The Island of the Tree of Life — The Pharaoh's 
protection against his enemies — Celestial felicity of the Pharaoh — Solar 
contrasted with Osirian hereafter — Earliest struggle of a state theology and 
a popular faith. 

The Osirianization of the Hereafter . . . 142 

(Period: 30th to 25th century B. C.) 

Osirian myth foreign to the celestial hereafter — Osiris not at first friendly 
to the dead — Osirian kingdom not celestial but subterranean — Filial piety 
of Horus and the Osirian hereafter — Identity of the dead Pharaoh and 
Osiris — Osiris gains a celestial hereafter — Osirianization of the Pyramid 
Texts — Conflict between state and popular religion — Traces of the process 
in the Pyramid Texts — Fusion of Solar and Osirian hereafter. 


Emergence of the Moral Sense — Moral 
Worthiness and the Hereafter — Scepti- 
cism and the Problem of Suffering . . . 165 

(29th century to 18th century B. C.) 

Religion first dealing with the material world — Emergence of the moral 
sense — Justice — Filial piety — Moral worthiness and the hereafter in tomb 
inscriptions — Earliest judgment of the dead — Moral justification in the 
Pyramid Texts — The Pharaoh not exempt from moral requirements in the 


hereafter — Moral justification not of Osirian but of Solar origin — The limi- 
tations of the earliest moral sense — The triumph of character over material 
agencies of immortality — The realm of the gods begins to become one of 
moral values — Ruined pyramids and futility of such means — Resulting 
scepticism and rise of subjective contemplation — Song of the harper — The ., 
problem of suffering and the unjustly afflicted — The "Misanthrope," the 
earliest Job. 


The Social Forces Make Their Impression on 
Religion — The Earliest Social Regenera- 
tion 199 

(Period: 22d to 18th century B. Q.) 

Appearance of the capacity to contemplate society — Discernment of the 
moral unworthiness of society — Scepticism — A royal sceptic — Earliest 
social prophets and their tractates — Ipuwer and his arraignment — The 
dream of the ideal ruler — Messianism — The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 
and propaganda for social justice — Maxims of Ptahhotep — Righteousness 
and official optimism — Social justice becomes the official doctrine of the 
state — The " Installation of the Vizier" — Dialogue form of social and moral 
discussion and its origin in Egypt — Evidences of the social regeneration of 
the Feudal Age — Its origin in the Solar faith — Deepening sense of moral 
responsibility in the hereafter both Solar and Osirian. 


Popularization of the Old Royal Hereafter — 
Triumph of Osiris — Conscience and the 
Book of the Dead — Magic and Morals . 257 

(Period: 22d century to 1350 B. C.) 

Material equipment for the hereafter not abandoned — Maintenance of 
the dead — The cemetery festivities of the people illustrated at Siut — Ephem- 
eral character of the tomb and its maintenance evident as before — Value 
of the uttered word in the hereafter — The "Coffin Texts," the forerunners 
of the Book of the Dead — Predominance of the Solar and celestial hereafter 
— Intrusion of Osirian views — Resulting Solar-Osirian hereafter — Democ- 
ratization of the hereafter — Its innumerable dangers — Consequent growth 
in the use of magic — Popular triumph of Osiris — His "Holy Sepulchre" 
at Abydos — The Osirian drama or "Passion Play" — Magic and increased 
recognition of its usefulness in the hereafter — The Book of the Dead — 
Largely made up of magical charms — Similar books — The judgment in 
the Book of the Dead — Conscience in graphic symbols — Sin not confessed 
as later — Magic enters world of morals and conscience — Resulting degen- 



The Imperial Age — The World-State Makes 
Its Impression on Religion — Earliest Mon- 
otheism — Ikhnaton 312 

(Period: 1580 to 1350 B. C.) 

Nationalism in religion and thought — It yields to universalism after 
establishment of Egyptian'Empire — Earliest evidences — Solar universalism 
under Amenhotep III — Opposition of Amon — Earliest national priesthood 
under High Priest of Amon — Amenhotep IV — His championship of Sun- 
god as "Aton" — His struggle with Amonite papacy — He annihilates 
Amon and the gods — He becomes "Ikhnaton" — Monotheism, Aton sole 
god of the Empire — A return to nature — Ethical content of Aton faith — 
The intellectual revolution — A world-religion premature — Ikhnaton the 
earliest "individual." 


The Age of Personal Piety — Sacerdotalism and 

Final Decadence 344 

(Period: 1350 B. C. on.) 

Fall of Ikhnaton — Suppression of the Aton faith — Restoration of Amon — 
Influences of Aton faith survive — Their appearance in folk-religion of 13th 
and 12th centuries B. C. — Fatherly care and solicitude of God (as old as 
Feudal Age), together with elements of Aton faith, appear in a manifesta- 
tion of personal piety among the common people — New spiritual relation 
with God, involving humility, confession of sin, and silent meditation — 
Morals of the sages and moral progress — Resignation to one's lot — Folk 
theology — Pantheism in a folk-tale — In Theology — Universal spread of 
mortuary practices — Increasing power of religious institutions — A state 
within the state — Sacerdotalism triumphs — Religion degenerates into 
usages, observances, and scribal conservation of the old writings — The ret- 
rospective age — Final decadence into the Osirianism of the Roman Empire. 

Index 371 


Beginning of the Dynasties with Menes, about 
3400 B. C. 

Early Dynasties, I and II, about 3400 to 2980 B. C. 

Old Kingdom or Pyramid Age, Dynasties III to VI, 
2980 to 2475 B.C., roughly the first five hundred 


Middle Kingdom or Feudal Age, Dynasties XI and 
XII, 2160 to 1788 B. C. 

The Empire, Dynasties XVIII to XX (first half 
only), about 1580 to 1150 B. C. 

Decadence, Dynasties XX (second half) to XXV, 
about 1150 to 660 B. C. 

Restoration, Dynasty XXVI, 663 to 525 B. C. 

Persian Conquest, 525 B. C. 

Greek Conquest, 332 B. C. 

Roman Conquest, 30 B. C. 


Page 345, footnote, last line, " Ikhnaton," should read "Tutenkhamon." 
Page 363, line 21, "twenty-fifth century," should read "twenty-eighth cen- 
Page 366, line 8, " which now received its last redaction," should read " still 
undergoing further redaction." 





the origins: nature and the state in their impres- 

The recovery of the history of the nearer Orient in the 
decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphic and Babylonian 
cuneiform brought with it many unexpected revelations, 
but none more impressive than the length of the develop- 
ment disclosed. In Babylonia, however, the constant 
influx of foreign population resulted in frequent and vio- 
lent interruption of the development of civilization. In 
Egypt, on the other hand, the isolation of the lower Nile 
valley permitted a development never seriously arrested 
by permanent immigrations for over three thousand 
years. We find here an opportunity like that which the 
zoologist is constantly seeking in what he calls "un- 
broken series, " such as that of the horse developing in 
several millions of years from a creature little larger than 
a rabbit to our modern domestic horse. In all the cate- 
gories of human life: language, arts, government, society, 
thought, religion — what you please — we may trace a de- 
velopment in Egypt essentially undisturbed by outside 
forces, for a period far surpassing in length any such 
development elsewhere preserved to us; and it is a matter 
of not a little interest to observe what humankind becomes 
in the course of five thousand years in such an Island of 
the Blest as Egypt; to follow him from the flint knife 
and stone hammer in less than two thousand years to the 



copper chisel and the amazing extent and accuracy of the 
Great Pyramid masonry; from the wattle-hut to the 
sumptuous palace, gorgeous with glazed tile, rich tapes- 
tries, and incrusted with gold; to follow all the golden 
threads of his many-sided life, as it was interwoven at 
last into a rich and noble fabric of civilization. In these 
lectures we are to follow but one of these many threads, 
as its complicated involutions wind hither and thither 
throughout the whole fabric. 

There is no force in the life of ancient man the influ- 
ence of which so pervades all his activities as does that 
of the religious faculty. It is at first but an endeavor in 
vague and childish fancies to explain and to control the 
world about him; its fears become his hourly master, its 
hopes are his constant mentor, its feasts are his calendar, 
and its outward usages are to a large extent the educa- 
tion and the motive toward the evolution of art, litera- 
ture, and science. Life not only touches religion at every 
point, but life, thought, and religion are inextricably in- 
terfused in an intricate complex of impressions from 
without and forces from within. How the world about 
him and the world within him successively wrought and 
fashioned the religion of the Egyptian for three thousand 
years is the theme of these studies. 

As among all other early peoples, it was in his natural 
surroundings that the Egyptian first saw his gods. The 
trees and springs, the stones and hill-tops, the birds and 
beasts, were creatures like himself, or possessed of strange 
and uncanny powers of which he was not master. Nature 
thus makes the earliest impression upon the religious 
faculty, the visible world is first explained in terms of 
religious forces, and the earliest gods are the controlling 
forces of the material world. A social or political realm, 


or a domain of the spirit where the gods shall be supreme, 
is not yet perceived. Such divinities as these were local, 
each known only to the dwellers in a given locality. 1 

As the prehistoric principalities, after many centuries 
of internal conflict, coalesced to form a united state, the 
first great national organization of men in history (about 
3400 B. C), this imposing fabric of the state made a pro- 
found impression upon religion, and the forms of the 
state began to pass over into the world of the gods. 

At the same time the voices within made themselves 
heard, and moral values were discerned for the first time. 
Man's organized power without and the power of the 
moral imperative within were thus both early forces in 
shaping Egyptian religion. The moral mandate, indeed, 
was felt earlier in Egypt than anywhere else. With the 
development of provincial society in the Feudal Age there 
ensued a ferment of social forces, and the demand for 
social justice early found expression in the conception of 
a gracious and paternal kingship, maintaining high ideals 
of social equity. The world of the gods, continuing in 
sensitive touch with the political conditions of the nation, 
at once felt this influence, and through the idealized king- 
ship social justice passed over into the character of the 
state god, enriching the ethical qualities which in some 
degree had for probably a thousand years been imputed 
to him. 

Thus far all was national. As the arena of thought 
and action widened from national limits to a world of 
imperial scope, when the Egyptian state expanded to em- 
brace contiguous Asia and Africa, the forces of imperial 
power consistently reacted upon the thought and religion 

1 These remarks are in part drawn from the writer's History of 
Egypt, p. 53. 


of the empire. The national religion was forcibly sup- 
planted by a non-national, universal faith, and for the 
first time in history monotheism dawned. Unlike the 
social developments of the Feudal Age, this movement 
was exclusively political, artificial, and imposed upon the 
people by official pressure from above. The monothe- 
istic movement also failed for lack of nationalism. The 
Mediterranean world was not yet ripe for a world-religion. 
In the reversion to the old national gods, much of the 
humane content of the monotheistic teaching survived, 
and may be recognized in ideas which gained wide cur- 
rency among the people. In this process of populariza- 
tion, the last great development in Egyptian religion took 
place (1300-1100 B. C), a development toward deep 
personal confidence in the goodness and paternal solici- 
tude of God, resulting in a relation of spiritual communion 
with him. This earliest known age of personal piety in 
a deep spiritual sense degenerated under the influence of 
sacerdotalism into the exaggerated religiosity of Graeco- 
Roman days in Egypt. 

Such is the imposing vista of development in the re- 
ligion and thought of Egypt, down which we may look, 
surveying as we do a period of three thousand years or 
more. To sum up: what we shall endeavor to do is to 
trace the progress of the Egyptian as both the world 
about him and the world within him made their impres- 
sion upon his thought and his religion, disclosing to us, 
one after another, nature, the national state, the inner 
life with its growing sense of moral obligation, the social 
forces, the world state, the personal conviction of the 
presence and goodness of God, triumphant sacerdotalism, 
scribal literalism, and resulting decay — in short, all these 
in succession as felt by the Egyptian with profound effect 


upon his religion and his thought for three thousand 
years will constitute the survey presented in these lectures. 

The fact that a survey of exactly this character has 
not been undertaken before should lend some interest to 
the task. The fact that objective study of the great 
categories mentioned has ranged them chronologically in 
their effect upon thought and religion in the order above 
outlined, disclosing a religious development in the main 
points analogous with that of the Hebrews, though with 
differences that might have been expected, should also 
enhance the interest and importance of such a recon- 
struction. Indeed one of the noticeable facts regarding 
the religious and intellectual development of the Hebrews 
has been that the Oriental world in which they moved 
has heretofore furnished us with no wholly analogous 
process among kindred peoples. 

It will be seen that such a study as we contemplate 
involves keeping in the main channel and following the 
broad current, the general drift. It will be impossible, 
not to say quite undesirable, to undertake an account of 
all the Egyptian gods, or to study the material appurte- 
nances and outward usages of religion, like the ceremonies 
and equipment of the cult, which were so elaborately de- 
veloped in Egypt. Nor shall we follow thought in all its 
relations to the various incipient sciences, but only those 
main developments involved in the intimate interrela- 
tion between thought and religion. 

One characteristic of Egyptian thinking should be 
borne in mind from the outset: it was always in graphic 
form. The Egyptian did not possess the terminology for 
the expression of a system of abstract thought; neither 
did he develop the capacity to create the necessary ter- 
minology as did the Greek. He thought in concrete pict 


ures, he moved along tangible material channels, and 
the material world about him furnished nearly all of 
the terms which he used. While this is probably ulti- 
mately true of all terms in any early language, such terms 
for the most part remained concrete for the Egyptian. 
We shall discern the emergence of the earliest abstract 
term known in the history of thought as moral ideas 
appear among the men of the Pyramid Age in the first half 
of the third millennium B. C. Let us not, therefore, ex- 
pect an equipment of precise abstract terms, which we 
shall find as lacking as the systems which might require 
them. We are indeed to watch processes by which a 
nation like the Greeks might have developed such terms, 
but as we contemplate the earliest developments in human 
thinking still traceable in contemporary documents, we 
must expect the vagueness, the crudities, and the limita- 
tions inevitable at so early a stage of human development. 
As the earliest chapter in the intellectual history of man, 
its introductory phases are, nevertheless, of more impor- 
tance than their intrinsic value as thought would other- 
wise possess, while the climax of the development is vital 
with human interest and human appeal. 

As we examine Egyptian religion in its earliest surviv- 
ing documents, it is evident that two great phenomena of 
nature had made the most profound impression upon the 
Nile-dwellers and that the gods discerned in these two 
phenomena dominated religious and intellectual develop- 
ment from the earliest times. These are the sun and the 
Nile. In the Sun-god, Re, Atum, Horus, Khepri, and in 
the Nile, Osiris, we find the great gods of Egyptian life 
and thought, who almost from the beginning entered upon 
a rivalry for the highest place in the religion of Egypt— 
a rivalry which ceased only with the annihilation of Egyp- 


tian religion at the close of the fifth century of the Chris- 
tian era. He who knows the essentials of the story of 
this long rivalry, will know the main course of the history 
of Egyptian religion, not to say one of the most important 
chapters in the history of the early East. 

The all-enveloping glory and power of the Egyptian sun 
is the most insistent fact in the Nile valley, even at the 
present day as the modern tourist views him for the first 
time. The Egyptian saw him in different, doubtless orig- 
inally local forms. At Edfu he appeared as a falcon, for 
the lofty flight of this bird, which seemed a very comrade of 
the sun, had led the early fancy of the Nile peasant to 
believe that the sun must be such a falcon, taking his daily 
flight across the heavens, and the sun-disk with the out- 
spread wings of the falcon became the commonest sym- 
bol of Egyptian religion. As falcon he bore the name 
Hor (Horus or Horos), or Harakhte, which means "Horus 
of the horizon." The latter with three other Horuses 
formed the four Horuses of the eastern sky, originally, 
doubtless, four different local Horuses. 1 We find them 

1 These four Horuses are: (1) "Harakhte," (2) "Horus of the 
Gods," (3) "Horus of the East," and (4) "Horus-shesemti." On 
their relation to Osiris, see infra, p. 156. Three important Utter- 
ances of the Pyramid Texts are built up on them: Ut. 325, 563, and 
479. They are also inserted into Ut. 504 (§§ 1085-6). See also 
§ 1 105 and § 1206. They probably occur again as curly haired youths 
in charge of the ferry-boat to the eastern sky in Ut. 520, but in Ut. 
522 the four in charge of the ferry-boat are the four genii, the sons 
of the Osirian Horus, and confusion must be guarded against. On 
this point see infra, p. 157. In Pyr. § 1258 the four Horuses appear 
with variant names and are perhaps identified with the dead; they 
are prevented from decaying by Isis and Nephthys. In Pyr. § 1478 
also the four Horuses are identified with the dead, who is the son of 
Re, in a resurrection. Compare also the four children of the Earth- 
god Geb (Pyr. §§ 1510-11), and especially the four children of Atum 
who decay not (Pyr. §§2057-8), as in Pyr. § 1258. 


in the Pyramid Texts as "these four youths who sit on 
the east side of the sky, these four youths with curly hair 
who sit in the shade of the tower of Kati." 1 

At Heliopolis the Sun-god appeared as an aged man 
tottering down the west, while elsewhere they saw in him 
a winged beetle rising in the east as Khepri. Less pict- 
uresque fancy discerned the material sun as Re, that is 
the "sun." While these were early correlated they at 
first remained distinct gods for the separate localities 
where they were worshipped. Survivals of the distinc- 
tion between the archaic local Sun-gods are still to be 
found in the Pyramid Texts. Horus early became the 
son of Re, but in the Pyramid Texts we may find the 
dead Pharaoh mounting " upon his empty throne between 
the two great gods" (Re and Horus). 2 They ultimately 
coalesced, and their identity is quite evident also in the 
same Pyramid Texts, where we find the compound " Re- 
Atum" to indicate the identity. 3 The favorite picture of 
him discloses him sailing across the celestial ocean in the 
sun-barque, of which there were two, one for the morning 
and the other for the evening. There were several an- 
cient folk-tales of how he reached the sky when he was 
still on earth. They prayed that the deceased Pharaoh 
might reach the sky in the same way: "Give thou to this 
king Pepi (the Pharaoh) thy two fingers which thou 
gavest to the maiden, the daughter of the Great God (Re), 
when the sky was separated from the earth, and the gods 
ascended to the sky, while thou wast a soul appearing in 
the bow of thy ship of seven hundred and seventy cubits 
(length), which the gods of Buto built for thee, which 
the eastern gods shaped for thee." 4 This separation of 

1 Pyr. Texts, § 1105. 2 Pyr. § 1125. 

3 Pyr. §§ 1694-5. 4 Pyr. §§ 1208-9. 


earth and sky had been accomplished by Shu the god of 
the atmosphere, who afterward continued to support the 
sky as he stood with his feet on earth. There, like Atlas 
shouldering the earth, he was fed by provisions of the 
Sun-god brought by a falcon. 1 

Long before all this, however, there had existed in the 
beginning only primeval chaos, an ocean in which the 
Sun-god as Atum had appeared. At one temple they said 
Ptah had shaped an egg out of which the Sun-god had 
issued; at another it was affirmed that a lotus flower had 
grown out of the water and in it the youthful Sun-god 
was concealed; at Heliopolis it was believed that the Sun- 
god had appeared upon the ancient pyramidal " Ben-stone 
in the Phoenix-hall in Heliopolis" as a Phoenix. 2 Every 
sanctuary sought to gain honor by associating in some 
way with its own early history the appearance of the Sun- 
god. Either by his own masculine power self-developed, 3 
or by a consort who appeared to him, the Sun-god now 
begat Shu the Air-god, and Tefnut his wife. Of these 
two were born Geb the Earth-god, and Nut the goddess 
of the sky, whose children were the two brothers Osiris 
and Set, and the sisters Isis and Nephthys. 

In the remotest past it was with material functions that 
the Sun-god had to do. In the earliest Sun-temples at 
Abusir, he appears as the source of life and increase. 
Men said of him: "Thou hast driven away the storm, 
and hast expelled the rain, and hast broken up the 
clouds." 4 These were his enemies, and of course they 
were likewise personified in the folk-myth, appearing in 
a tale in which the Sun-god loses his eye at the hands of 

Pyr. § 1778. 2 Pyr. § 1652. 

Pyr. § 1818 and § 1248, where the act is described in detail. 

Pyr. § 500. 


his enemy. Similarly the waxing and waning of the moon, 
who was also an eye of the Sun-god, gave rise to another 
version of the lost eye, which in this case was brought 
back and restored to the Sun-god by his friend Thoth 
the Moon-god. 1 This "eye," termed the "Horus-eye," 
became one of the holiest symbols of Egyptian religion, 
and was finally transferred to the Osirian faith, where it 
played a prominent part. 2 

As the Egyptian state developed and a uniformly or- 
ganized nation under a single king embraced and included 
all the once petty and local principalities, the Sun-god 
became an ancient king who, like a Pharaoh, had once ruled 
Egypt. Many folk-myths telling of his earthly rule arose, 
but of these only fragments have survived, like that which 
narrates the ingratitude of his human subjects, whom he 
was obliged to punish and almost exterminate before he 
retired to the sky. 3 

While the Egyptian still referred with pleasure to the 
incidents which made up these primitive tales, and his 
religious literature to the end was filled with allusions to 
these myths, nevertheless at the beginning of the Pyramid 
Age he was already discerning the Sun-god in the exercise 
of functions which lifted him far above such childish 
fancies and made him the great arbiter and ruler of the 
Egyptian nation. While he was supreme among the 
gods, and men said of him, "Thou passest the night in 
the evening-barque, thou wakest in the morning-barque; 

1 Pyr. § 2213 d. 

2 On the two eyes of the Sun-god, see Erman's full statement, 
Hymnen an das Diadem der Pharaonen, in Abhandl. der Kgl. 
Preuss. Akad., 1911, pp. 11-14. 

3 On the sun-myths see Erman, Aegyptische Religion, pp. 33-38. 
An insurrection suppressed by the Sun-god is referred to in the Pyra- 
mid Texts, Ut. 229 and § 311. 


for thou art he who overlooks the gods; there is no god 
who overlooks thee"; 1 he was likewise at the same time 
supreme over the destinies of men. 

This fundamental transition, the earliest known, trans- 
ferred the activities of the Sun-god from the realm of 
exclusively material forces to the domain of human affairs. 
Already in the Pyramid Age his supremacy in the affairs 
of Egypt was celebrated in the earliest Sun-hymn which 
we possess. It sets forth the god's beneficent mainte- 
nance and control of the land of Egypt, which is called 
the " Horus-eye/' that is the Sun-god's eye. The hymn 
is as follows: 

"Hail to thee, Atum! 
Hail to thee, Kheprer! 
Who himself became (or 'self-generator'). 
Thou art high in this thy name of 'Height,' 
Thou becomest (hpr) in this thy name of 'Beetle' (tjprr). 
Hail to thee, Horus-eye (Egypt), 
Which he adorned with both his arms. 

"He permits thee (Egypt) not to hearken to the westerners, 
He permits thee not to hearken to the easterners, 
He permits thee not to hearken to the southerners, 
He permits thee not to hearken to the northerners, 
He permits thee not to hearken to the dwellers in the midst of the 

But thou hearkenest unto Horus. 

It is he who has adorned thee, 

It is he who has built thee, 

It is he who has founded thee. 

Thou doest for him everything that he says to thee 

In every place where he goes. 

i Pyr. § 1479. 


"Thou earnest to him the fowl-bearing waters that are in thee; 
Thou carriest to him the fowl-bearing waters that shall be in thee. 
Thou carriest to him every tree that is in thee, 
Thou carriest to him every tree that shall be in thee. 
Thou carriest to him all food that is in thee, 
Thou carriest to him all food that shall be in thee. 
Thou carriest to him the gifts that are in thee, 
Thou carriest to him the gifts that shall be in thee. 
Thou carriest to him everything that is in thee, 
Thou carriest to him everything that shall be in thee. 
Thou bringest them to him, 
To every place where his heart desires to be. 

"The doors that are on thee stand fast like Inmutef, 1 
They open not to the westerners, 
They open not to the easterners, 
They open not to the northerners, 
They open not to the southerners, 

They open not to the dwellers in the midst of the earth, 
They open to Horus. 
It was he who made them, 
It was he who set them up, 

It was he who saved them from every ill which Set did to them. 
It was he who settled (grg) thee, 
In this thy name of 'Settlements' (grg-wt). 
It was he who went doing obeisance (nyny) after thee, 
In this thy name of 'City' (nwt) 
It was he who saved thee from every ill 
Which Set did unto thee." 2 

Similarly the Sun-god is the ally and protector of the 
king: "He settles for him Upper Egypt, he settles for 
him Lower Egypt; he hacks up for him the strongholds 
of Asia, he quells for him all the people, 3 who were fashioned 

1 A priestly title meaning "Pillar of his mother" and containing 
some mythological allusion. 

2 Pyr. §§ 1587-95. 

3 The word used applies only to the people of Egypt. 


under his fingers." * Such was his prestige that by the 
twenty-ninth century his name appeared in the names of 
the Gizeh kings, the builders of the second and third 
pyramids there, Khafre and Menkure, and according to 
a folk-tale circulating a thousand years later, Khufu the 
builder of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, and the prede- 
cessor of the two kings just named, was warned by a wise 
man that his line should be superseded by three sons of 
the Sun-god yet to be born. As a matter of fact, in the 
middle of the next century, that is about 2750 B. C, the 
line of Khufu, the Fourth Dynasty, was indeed supplanted 
by a family of kings, who began to assume the title 
"Son of Re," though the title was probably not un- 
known even earlier. This Fifth Dynasty was devoted to 
the service of the Sun-god, and each king built a vast 
sanctuary for his worship in connection with the royal 
residence, on the margin of the western desert. Such a 
sanctuary possessed no adytum, or holy-of-holies, but in 
its place there rose a massive masonry obelisk towering 
to the sky. Like all obelisks, it was surmounted by a 
pyramid, which formed the apex. The pyramid was, as 
we shall see, the chief symbol of the Sun-god, and in his 
sanctuary at Heliopolis there was a pyramidal stone in 
the holy place, of which that surmounting the obelisk in 
the Fifth Dynasty sun-temples was perhaps a reproduc- 
tion. It is evident that the priests of Heliopolis had be- 
come so powerful that they had succeeded in seating this 
Solar line of kings upon the throne of the Pharaohs. 
From now on the state fiction was maintained that the 
Pharaoh was the physical son of the Sun-god by an 
earthly mother, and in later days we find the successive 
incidents of the Sun-god's terrestrial amour sculptured 
1 Pyr. § 1837. 


on the walls of the temples. It has been preserved in two 
buildings of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the temple of Luxor 
and that of Der el-Bahri. 1 

The legend was so persistent that even Alexander the 
Great deferred to the tradition, and made the long jour- 
ney to the Oasis of Amon in the western desert, that he 
might be recognized as the bodily son of the Egyptian 
Sun-god; 2 and the folk-tale preserved in Pseudo-Callis- 
thenes gave the legend currency as a popular romance, 
which survived until a few centuries ago in Europe. It 
still remains to be determined what influence the Solar 
Pharaoh may have had upon the Solar apotheosis of the 
Csesars, five hundred years later. 

From the foundation of the Fifth Dynasty, in the 
twenty-eighth century B. C, the position of the Sun-god 
then, as the father of the Pharaoh and the great patron 
divinity of the state, was one of unrivalled splendor and 
power. He was the great god of king and court. When 
King Neferirkere is deeply afflicted at the sudden death 
of his grand vizier, who was stricken down with disease 
at the king's side, the Pharaoh prays to Re; 3 and the 
court-physician, when he has received a gift from the king 
for his tomb, tells of it in his tomb inscriptions with the 
words: "If ye love Re, ye shall praise every god for 
Sahure's sake who did this for me." 4 

The conception of the Sun-god as a former king of 
Egypt, as the father of the reigning Pharaoh, and as the 
protector and leader of the nation, still a kind of ideal 
king, resulted in the most important consequences for 

i BAR, II, 187-212. 

2 The material will be found in Maspero's useful essay, Comment 
Alexandre devint dieu en Egypte, Ecole dcs Hautes Etudes, annuaire, 1897. 
s BAR, 1,247. 4 BAR, 1,247. 


religion. The qualities of the earthly kingship of the 
Pharaoh were easily transferred to Re. We can observe 
this even in externals. There was a palace song with 
which the court was wont to waken the sovereign five 
thousand years ago, or which was addressed to him in the 
morning as he came forth from his chamber. It began : 

"Thou wakest in peace, 
The king awakes in peace, 
Thy wakening is in peace." 1 

This song was early addressed to the Sun-god, 2 and 
similarly the hymns to the royal diadem as a divinity 
were addressed to other gods. 3 The whole earthly con- 
ception and environment of the Egyptian Pharaoh were 
soon, as it were, the "stage properties" with which Re 
was "made up" before the eyes of the Nile-dweller. 
When later on, therefore, the conception of the human 
kingship was developed and enriched under the trans- 
forming social forces of the Feudal Age, these vital changes 
were soon reflected from the character of the Pharaoh to 
that of the Sun-god. It was a fact of the greatest value 
to religion, then, that the Sun-god became a kind of celes- 
tial reflection of the earthly sovereign. This phenomenon 
is, of course, merely a highly specialized example of the 
universal process by which man has pictured to himself 
his god with the pigments of his earthly experience. We 
shall later see how this process is closely analogous to the 
developing idea of the Messianic king in Hebrew thought. 

1 The character and origin, and the later use of this song as a part 
of temple ritual and worship, were first noticed by Erman, Hymnen 
an das Diadem der Pharaonen, Abhandl. der Kgl. Preuss. Akad., Ber- 
lin, 1911, pp. 15 ff. 

2 Pyr. §§ 1478, 1518. * See Erman, ibid. 


While there is no question whatever regarding the 
natural phenomenon of which Re, Atum, Horus, and the 
rest were personifications, there has been much uncer- 
tainty and discussion of the same question in connection 
with Osiris. 1 

The oldest source, the Pyramid Texts, in combination 
with a few later references, settles the question beyond 
any doubt. The clearest statement of the nature of 
Osiris is that contained in the incident of the finding of 
the dead god by his son Horus, as narrated in the Pyramid 
Texts: "Horus comes, he recognizes his father in thee, 
youthful in thy name of 'Fresh Water.'" 2 Equally un- 
equivocal are the words of King Ramses IV, who says to 
the god: "Thou art indeed the Nile, great on the fields 
at the beginning of the seasons; gods and men live by the 
moisture that is in thee." 3 

Similarly in the Pyramid Texts, Osiris is elsewhere ad- 
dressed : " Ho, Osiris, the inundation comes, the overflow 
moves, Geb (the earth-god) groans: 'I have sought thee 
in the field, I have smitten him who did aught against 
thee . . . that thou mightest live and lift thyself up.' " 4 
Again when the dead king Unis is identified with Osiris, 
it is said of him: "Unis comes hither up-stream when the 
flood inundates. . . . Unis comes to his pools that are in 
the region of the flood at the great inundation, to the 

1 The material known before the discovery of the Pyramid Texts 
was put together by Lefebure, Le mythe osirien, Paris, 1874; 
review by Maspero, Revue critique, 1875, t. II, pp. 209-210. 
Without the Pyramid Texts, the oldest source, it is hardly possible 
to settle the question. The complete material from this source has 
not hitherto been brought to bear on the question, not even in the 
latest work on the subject, Frazer's admirable book, Adonis Attis 
Osiris, London, 1907. 

2 Pyr. § 589. 3 Mariette, Abydos, II, 54, 1. 7. 
4 Pyr. §2111. 


place of peace, with green fields, that is in the horizon. 
Unis makes the verdure to flourish in the two regions of 
the horizon"; 1 or "it is Unis who inundates the land." 2 

Likewise the deceased king Pepi I is addressed as Osiris 
thus: "This thy cavern, 3 is the broad hall of Osiris, O 
King Pepi, which brings the wind and ^guides 1 the north- 
wind. It raises thee as Osiris, O King Pepi. The wine- 
press god comes to thee bearing wine-juice. . . . Those 
who behold the Nile tossing in waves tremble. The 
marshes laugh, the shores are overflowed, the divine offer- 
ings descend, men give praise and the heart of the gods 
rejoices." 4 A priestly explanation in the Pyramid Texts 
represents the inundation as of ceremonial origin, Osiris 
as before being its source: "The lakes fill, the canals are 
inundated, by the purification that came forth from 
Osiris"; 5 or "Ho this Osiris, king Meniere! Thy water, 
thy libation is the great inundation that came forth from 
thee " (as Osiris). 6 

In a short hymn addressed to the departed king, Pepi II, 
as Osiris, we should discern Osiris either in the life-giving 
waters or the soil of Egypt which is laved by them. The 
birth of the god is thus described: "The waters of life 
that are in the sky come; the waters of life that are in the 
earth come. The sky burns for thee, the earth trembles 
for thee, before the divine birth. The two mountains 
divide, the god becomes, the god takes possession of his 
body. Behold this king Pepi, his feet are kissed by the 
pure waters which arose through Atum, which the phallus 
of Shu makes and the vulva of Tefnut causes to be. 

1 Pyr. §§507-8. 2 Pyr. §388. 

3 The word used is tpht, the term constantly employed in later re- 
ligious texts for the cavern from which the Nile had its source. 

4 Pyr. §§ 1551-4. 5 Pyr. § 848. 6 Pyr. § 868. 


They come to thee, they bring to thee the pure waters from 
their father. They purify thee, they cleanse thee, O 
Pepi. . . . The libation is poured out at the gate of this 
king Pepi, the face of every god is washed. Thou washest 
thy arms, O Osiris." l As Osiris was identified with the 
waters of earth and sky, he may even become the sea and 
the ocean itself. We find him addressed thus: "Thou art 
great, thou art green, in thy name of Great Green (Sea) ; 
lo, thou art round as the Great Circle (Okeanos) ; lo, thou 
art turned about, thou art round as the circle that en- 
circles the Haunebu (iEgeans)." 2 "Thou includest all 
things in thy embrace, in thy name of 'Encircler of the 
Haunebu ' OEgeans)." 3 Or again: "Thou hast encircled 
every god in thy embrace, their lands and all their posses- 
sions. O Osiris . . . thou art great, thou curvest about 
as the curve which encircles the Haunebu." 4 Hence it 
is that Osiris is depicted on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 
engulfed in waters and lying as it were coiled, with head 
and heels meeting around a vacancy containing the in- 
scription: "It is Osiris, encircling the Nether- World." 5 
We may therefore understand another passage of the 
Pyramid Texts, which says to Osiris: "Thou ferriest over 
the lake to thy house the Great Green (sea)." 6 

While the great fountains of water are thus identified 
with Osiris, it is evidently a particular function of the 
waters with which he was associated. It was water as a 
source of fertility, water as a life-giving agency with which 

1 Pyr. §§ 2063-8. 

2 Pyr. §§ 628-9. Osiris is made ruler of the Haunebu also in the 
Stela No. 20, Bibl. Nat. Cat. Ledrain, pi. xxvi, 11. 19-20. 

3 Pyr. § 1631. 4 Pyr. § 847. 

5 Bonomi and Sharpe, Alabaster Sarcophagus of Oimeneptah I, 
London, 1864, pi. 15. 
« Pyr. § 1752. 


Osiris was identified. It is water which brings life to the 
soil, and when the inundation comes the Earth-god Geb 
says to Osiris: "The divine fluid that is in thee cries out, 
thy heart lives, thy divine limbs move, thy joints are 
loosed," in which we discern the water bringing life and 
causing the resurrection of Osiris, the soil. In the same 
way in a folk-tale thirteen or fourteen hundred years later 
than the Pyramid Texts, the heart of a dead hero, who is 
really Osiris, is placed in water, and when he has drunk 
the water containing his heart, he revives and comes to 
life. 1 

As we have seen in the last passage from the Pyramid 
Texts, Osiris is closely associated with the soil likewise. 
This view of Osiris is carried so far in a hymn of the 
twelfth century B. C. as to identify Osiris, not only with 
the soil but even with the earth itself. The beginning is 
lost, but we perceive that the dead Osiris is addressed as 
one "with outspread arms, sleeping upon his side upon 
the sand, lord of the soil, mummy with long phallus. . . . 
Re-Khepri shines on thy body, when thou liest as Sokar, 
and he drives away the darkness which is upon thee, that 
he may bring light to thy eyes. For a time he shines upon 
thy body mourning for thee. . . . The soil is on thy arm, 
its corners are upon thee as far as the four pillars of the 
sky. When thou movest, the earth trembles. ... As for 
thee, the Nile comes forth from the sweat of thy hands. 
Thou spewest out the wind that is in thy throat into the 
nostrils of men, and that whereon men live is divine. It 
is r alike in 1 thy nostrils, the tree and its verdure, reeds — 
plants, barley, wheat, and the tree of life. When canals 
are dug, . . . houses and temples are built, when monu- 
ments are transported and fields are cultivated, when 

x The Tale of the Two Brothers; see infra, pp. 357-360. 


tomb-chapels and tombs are excavated, they rest on 
thee, it is thou who makest them. They are on thy 
back, although they are more than can be put into 
writing. [Thy] back hath not an empty place, for they 
all lie on thy back; but [thou sayest] not, 'I am weighed 
down.' Thou art the father and mother of men, they 
live on thy breath, they eat of the flesh of thy body. 
The 'Primaeval' is thy name." 1 

The earlier views of the Pyramid Texts represent him 
as intimately associated with vegetable life. We find 
him addressed thus: "O thou whose ab-tree is green, 
which (or who) is upon his field; thou opener of the 
ukhikh-flower that (or who) is on his sycomore; O thou 
brightener of regions who is on his palm; O thou lord of 
green fields." 2 Again it is said to him : " Thou art flooded 
with the verdure with which the children of Geb (the 
Earth-god) were flooded. . . . The am-tree serves thee, 
the nebes-tree bows its head to thee." 3 In addition to 
his connection with the wine-press god above, he is called 
"Lord of overflowing wine." 4 Furthermore, as the inun- 
dation began at the rising of Sothis, the star of Isis, sister 
of Osiris, they said to him: "The beloved daughter, Sothis, 
makes thy fruits (rnpwt) in this her name of 'Year' 
(rnpt)." 5 These are the fruits on which Egypt lives; 
when therefore the dead king is identified with Osiris, his 
birth is called "his unblemished birth, whereby the Two 
Lands (Egypt) live," and thereupon he comes as the 
messenger of Osiris announcing the prosperous yield of 
the year. 6 In the earliest versions of the Book of the 
Dead likewise, the deceased says of himself: "I am 

1 Erman, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 38, pp. 30-33. 

2 Pyr. § 699. 3 Pyr. § 1019. 4 Pyr. § 1524. 
6 Pyr. § 1065. 6 Pyr. §§1194-5. 


Osiris, I have come forth as thou (that is "being thou"), 
I have entered as thou ... the gods live as I, I live as 
the gods, I live as 'Grain,' 1 I grow as 'Grain/ ... I am 
barley." With these early statements we should compare 
the frequent representations showing grain sprouting 
from the prostrate body of Osiris, or a tree growing out 
of his tomb or his coffin, or the effigies of the god as a 
mummy moulded of bruised corn and earth and buried with 
the dead, or in the grain-field to insure a plentiful crop. 
It is evident from these earliest sources that Osiris was 
identified with the ivaters, especially the inundation, with 
the soil, and with vegetation. This is a result of the 
Egyptian tendency always to think in graphic and con- 
crete forms. The god was doubtless in Egyptian thought 
the imperishable principle of life wherever found, and this 
conception not infrequently appears in representations of 
him, showing him even in death as still possessed of gen- 
erative power. The ever-waning and reviving life of the 
earth, sometimes associated with the life-giving waters, 
sometimes with the fertile soil, or again discerned in 
vegetation itself— that was Osiris. The fact that the 
Nile, like the vegetation which its rising waters nourished 
and supported, waxed and waned every year, made it 
more easy to see him in the Nile, the most important 
feature of the Egyptian's landscape, than in any other 
form. 2 As a matter of fact the Nile was but the source 

iHere personified as god of Grain (Npr). The passage is from 
the Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts, published by Lacau, Recueil de 
trav. See also " Chapter of Becoming the Nile " (XIX) and cf. XLIV. 

2 The later classical evidence from Greek and Roman authors is in 
general corroborative of the above conclusions. It is of only secon- 
dary importance as compared with the early sources employed 
above. The most important passages will be found in Frazer's Ado- 
nis Attis Osiris, London, 1907, pp. 330-345. 


and visible symbol of that fertile of which Osiris was 
the personification. 

This ever-dying, ever-reviving god, who seemed to be 
subjected to human destiny and human mortality, was 
inevitably the inexhaustible theme of legend and saga. 
Like the Sun-god, after kings appeared in the land, Osiris 
soon became an ancient king, who had been given the in- 
heritance of his father Geb, the Earth-god. He was com- 
monly called "the heir of Geb," who "assigned to him 
the leadership of the lands for the good of affairs. He 
put this land in his hand, its water, its air, its verdure, all 
its herds, all things that fly, all things that flutter, its 
reptiles, its game of the desert, legally conveyed to the 
son of Nut (Osiris)." 1 

Thus Osiris began his beneficent rule, and " Egypt was 
content therewith, as he dawned upon the throne of his 
father, like Re when he rises in the horizon, when he 
sends forth light for him that is in darkness. He shed 
forth light by his radiance, and he flooded the Two Lands 
like the sun at early morning, while his diadem pierced 
the sky and mingled with the stars— he, leader of every 
god, excellent in command, favorite of the Great Ennead, 
beloved of the Little Ennead." 2 In power and splendor 
and benevolence he ruled a happy people. He "estab- 
lished justice in Egypt, putting the son in the seat of the 
father." "He overthrew his enemies, and with a mighty 
arm he slew his foes, setting the fear of him among his 
adversaries, and extending his boundaries." 3 

His sister Isis, who was at the same time his wife, stood 

1 Hymn to Osiris in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Stela No. 20, 
published by Ledrain, Les monuments egyptiens de la Bibliotheque 
Nationale, Paris, 1879, pis. xxi-xxviii, 11. 10-11. Hereafter cited 
as Bib. Nat. No. 20. It dates from the Eighteenth Dynasty. 

2 Bib. Nat. No. 20, 11. 12-13. 3 Ibid., 20, 11. 9-10. 


loyally at his side; she "protected him, driving away 
enemies, warding off "clanger, 1 taking the foe by the ex- 
cellence of her speech — she, the skilful-tongued, whose 
word failed not, excellent in command, Isis, effective in 
protecting her brother." 1 The arch enemy of the good 
Osiris was his brother Set, who, however, feared the good 
king. 2 The Sun-god warned him and his followers: 
" Have ye done aught against him and said that he should 
die? He shall not die but he shall live forever." 3 

Nevertheless his assailants at last prevailed against 
him, if not openly then by stratagem, as narrated by 
Plutarch, although there is no trace in the Egyptian 
sources of Plutarch's story of the chest into which the 
doomed Osiris was lured by the conspirators and then 
shut in to die. 4 

The oldest source, the Pyramid Texts, indicates assas- 
sination: "his brother Set felled him to the earth in 
Nedyt"; 5 or "his brother Set overthrew him upon his 
side, on the further side of the land of Gehesti"; 6 but 
another document of the Pyramid Age, and possibly 
quite as old as the passages quoted from the Pyramid 
Texts, says: "Osiris was drowned in his new water (the 
inundation)." 7 

When the news reached the unhappy Isis, she wandered 
in great affliction seeking the body of her lord, "seeking 

1 Bib. Nat. No. 20, 11. 13-14. 

2 Pyr. § 589. The same intimations are discernible throughout this 
Utterance (357). 

3 Pyr. § 1471. The Pharaoh's name has been inserted in place of 
the last pronoun. In the variants of this text (§ 481 and § 944) the 
enemy is in the singular. 

4 See Schaefer, Zeitschrift fur aegypt. Sprache, 41, 81 ff. 

6 Pyr. § 1256. « Pyr> § 972 . 

7 British Museum, Stela 797, 11. 19 and 62. On this monument 
see infra, pp. 41-47. 


him unweariedly, sadly going through this land, nor stop- 
ping until she found him." 1 The oldest literature is full 
of references to the faithful wife unceasingly seeking her 
murdered husband: "Thou didst come seeking thy 
brother Osiris, when his brother Set had overthrown 
him." 2 The Plutarch narrative even carries her across 
the Mediterranean to Byblos, where the body of Osiris 
had drifted in the waters. The Pyramid Texts refer to 
the fact that she at last found him "upon the shore of 
Nedyt," 3 where we recall he was slain by Set, and it may 
be indeed that Nedyt is an ancient name for the region 
of Byblos, although it was later localized at Abydos, and 
one act of the Osirian passion play was presented at 
the shore of Nedyt, near Abydos. 4 The introduction of 
Byblos is at least as old as the thirteenth century B. C, 
when the Tale of the Two Brothers in an Osirian incident 
pictures the Osirian hero as slain in the Valley of the 
Cedar, which can have been nowhere but the Syrian coast 
where the cedar flourished. Indeed in the Pyramid 
Texts, Horus is at one point represented as crossing the 
sea. 5 All this is doubtless closely connected with the 
identification of Osiris with the waters, or even with the 
sea, and harmonizes easily with the other version of his 
death, which represents him as drowning. In that ver- 
sion "Isis and Nephthys saw him. . . . Horus com- 
manded Isis and Nephthys in Busiris, that they seize 
upon Osiris, and that they prevent him from drowning. 
They turned around the head (of Osiris) . . . and they 

1 Bib. Nat. No. 20, 11. 14-15. 

2 Pyr. §972. 3 Pyr. § 1008. 

4 See infra, p. 289. Nedyt was conceived as near Abydos even in 
the Pyramid Texts, see § 754, where Nedyt occurs in parallelism 
with Thinis the nome of Abydos, 

5 Pyr. §§1505, 1508. 


brought him to the land." l Nephthys frequently ac- 
companies her sister in the long search, both of them being 
in the form of birds. "Isis comes, Nephthys comes, one 
of them on the right, one of them on the left, one of them 
as a het-bird, one of them as a falcon. They have found 
Osiris, as his brother Set felled him to the earth in Nedyt." 2 
"'I have found (him),' said Nephthys, when they saw 
Osiris (lying) on his side on the shore. ... 'O my brother, 
I have sought thee; raise thee up, O spirit.'" 3 "The 
het-bird comes, the falcon comes; they are Isis and Neph- 
thys, they come embracing their brother, Osiris. . . . 
Weep for thy brother, Isis! Weep for thy brother, 
Nephthys! Weep for thy brother. Isis sits, her arms 
upon her head; Nephthys has seized the tips of her breasts 
(in mourning) because of her brother." 4 The lamenta- 
tions of Isis and Nephthys became the most sacred ex- 
pression of sorrow known to the heart of the Egyptian, 
and many were the varied forms which they took until 
they emerged in the Osirian mysteries of Europe, three 
thousand years later. 

Then the two sisters embalm the body of their brother 
to prevent its perishing, 5 or the Sun-god is moved with 
pity and despatches the ancient mortuary god "Anubis 
. . . lord of the Nether World, to whom the westerners 
(the dead) give praise . . . him who was in the middle 
of the mid-heaven, fourth of the sons of Re, who was 
made to descend from the sky to embalm Osiris, because 
he was so very worthy in the heart of Re." 6 Then when 
they have laid him in his tomb a sycomore grows up and 

1 Brit. Museum, 797, 11. 62-63. 2 Pyr. §§ 1255-6. 

3 Pyr. §§ 2144-5. 4 Pyr. §§ 1280-2. * Pyr. § 1257. 

6 Coffin of Heuui, Steindorff, Grabfunde dcs Mittleren Reichs, 
II, 17. 


envelops the body of the dead god, like the erica in the 
story of Plutarch. This sacred tree is the visible symbol 
of the imperishable life of Osiris, which in the earliest 
references was already divine and might be addressed as 
a god. Already in the Pyramid Age men sang to it: 
"Hail to thee, Sycomore, which encloses the god, under 
which the gods of the Nether Sky stand, whose tips are 
scorched, whose middle is burned, who art just in "■ suffer- 
ing 1 . . . . Thy forehead is upon thy arm (in mourning) 
for Osiris. . . . Thy station, O Osiris; thy shade over 
thee, O Osiris, which repels thy defiance, O Set; the 
gracious damsel (meaning the tree) which was made for 
this soul of Gehesti; thy shade, O Osiris." l 

Such was the life and death of Osiris. His career, as 
picturing the cycle of nature, could not of course end here. 
It is continued in his resurrection, and likewise in a later 
addition drawn from the Solar theology, the story of his 
son Horus and the Solar feud of Horus and Set, which 
was not originally Osirian. Even in death the life-giving 
power of Osiris did not cease. The faithful Isis drew 
near her dead lord, "making a shadow with her pinions 
and causing a wind with her wings . . . raising the weary 
limbs of the silent-hearted (dead), receiving his seed, 
bringing forth an heir, nursing the child in solitude, whose 
place is not known, introducing him when his arm grew 
strong in the Great Hall" (at Heliopolis?). 2 

1 Pyr. §§ 1285-7. Gehesti is the name of the land where Osiris 
was slain. The reference to the scorching and burning of the tree is 
doubtless the earliest native mention of the ceremony of enclosing 
an image of Osiris in a tree and burning it, as narrated by Firmicus 
Maternus, De errore profanarum religionum, 27; Frazer, Adonis 
Attis Osiris, pp. 339-340. 

2 Bib. Nat. No. 20, 11. 15-16. The story is told with coarse frank- 
ness also in the Pyramid Texts: "Thy sister Isis comes to thee, re- 
joicing for love of thee. Ponis earn ad phallum tuum, semen tuum 


The imagination of the common people loved to dwell 
upon this picture of the mother concealed in the marshes 
of the Delta, as they fancied, by the city of Khemmis, 
and there bringing up the youthful Horus, that "when 
his arm grew strong" he might avenge the murder of his 
father. All this time Set was, of course, not idle, and 
many were the adventures and escapes which befell the 
child at the hands of Set. These are too fragmentary 
preserved to be reconstructed clearly, but even after the 
youth has grown up and attained a stature of eight cubits 
(nearly fourteen feet), he is obliged to have a tiny chapel 
of half a cubit long made, in which he conceals himself 
from Set. 1 Grown to manhood, however, the youthful 
god emerges at last from his hiding-place in the Delta. 
In the oldest fragments we hear of "Isis the great, who 
fastened on the girdle in Khemmis, when she brought her 
r censer r and burned incense before her son Horus, the 
young child, when he was going through the land on 
his white sandals, that he might see his father Osiris." 2 
Again: "Horus comes forth from Khemmis, and (the 
city of) Buto arises for Horus, and he purifies him- 
self there. Horus comes purified that he may avenge 
his father." 3 

The filial piety of Horus was also a theme which the 
imagination of the people loved to contemplate, as he 
went forth to overthrow his father's enemies and take 
vengeance upon Set. They sang to Osiris: "Horus hath 

emergit in earn." Pyr. § 632, and again less clearly in Pyr. § 1636. 
At Abydos and Philae the incident is graphically depicted on the 
wall in relief. 

1 See Schaefer, Zeitschr.f. aegypt. Sprache, 41, 81. 

2 Pyr. § 1214. 

3 Pyr. § 2190. There was also a story of how he left Buto, to 
which there is a reference in Pyr. § 1373= § 1089. 


come that he might embrace thee. He hath caused 
Thoth to turn back the followers of Set before thee. He 
hath brought them to thee all together. He hath turned 
back the heart of Set before thee, for thou art greater 
than he. Thou hast gone forth before him, thy character 
is before him. Geb hath seen thy character, he hath 
put thee in thy place. Geb hath brought to thee thy 
two sisters to thy side: it is Isis and Nephthys. Horus 
hath caused the gods to unite with thee and fraternize 
with thee. . . . He hath caused that the gods avenge 
thee. Geb hath placed his foot on the head of thy enemy, 
who hath retreated before thee. Thy son Horus hath 
smitten him. He hath taken away his eye from him; 
he hath given it to thee, that thou mightest become a soul 
thereby and be mighty thereby before the spirits. Horus 
hath caused that thou seize thy enemies and that there 
should be none escaping among them before thee. . . . 
Horus hath seized Set, he hath laid him for thee under 
thee, that he (Set) may lift thee up and tremble under 
thee as the earth trembles. . . . Horus hath caused that 
thou shouldest recognize him in his inner heart, without 
his escaping from thee. O Osiris, . . . Horus hath 
avenged thee." * "Horus hath come that he may recog- 
nize thee. He hath smitten Set for thee, bound. Thou 
art his (Set's) ka. Horus hath driven him back for thee; 
thou art greater than he. He swims bearing thee; he 
carries in thee one greater than he. His followers be- 
hold thee that thy strength is greater than he, and they 
do not attack thee. Horus comes, he recognizes his 
father in thee, youthful (rnp) in thy name of 'Fresh 
Water' (mw-rnpw)." 2 "Loose thou Horus from his 
bonds, that he may punish the followers of Set. Seize 
1 Pyr. §§ 575-582. 2 Pyr. §§ 587-9. 


them, remove their heads, wade thou in their blood. 
Count their hearts in this thy name of 'Anubis counter 
of hearts.'" 1 

The battle of Horus with Set, which as we shall see was 
a Solar incident, waged so fiercely that the young god 
lost his eye at the hands of his father's enemy. When 
Set was overthrown, and it was finally recovered by 
Thoth, this wise god spat upon the wound and healed it. 
This method of healing the eye, which is, of course, folk- 
medicine reflected in the myth, evidently gained wide 
popularity, passed into Asia, and seems to reappear in the 
New Testament narrative, in the incident which depicts 
Jesus doubtless deferring to recognized folk-custom in em- 
ploying the same means to heal a blind man. Horus now 
seeks his father, even crossing the sea in his quest, 2 that 
he may raise his father from the dead and offer to him 
the eye which he has sacrificed in his father's behalf. 
This act of filial devotion, preserved to us in the Pyramid 
Texts (see above, p. 12), made the already sacred Horus- 
eye doubly revered in the tradition and feeling of the 
Egyptians. It became the symbol of all sacrifice; every 
gift or offering might be called a " Horus-eye," especially 
if offered to the dead. Excepting the sacred beetle, or 
scarab, it became the commonest and the most revered 
symbol known to Egyptian religion, and the myriads of 
eyes, wrought in blue or green glaze, or even cut from 
costly stone, which fill our museum collections, and are 
brought home by thousands by the modern tourist, are 
survivals of this ancient story of Horus and his devotion 
to his father. 

A chapter of the Pyramid Texts tells the whole story of 
the resurrection. " The gods dwelling in Buto 'approach 1 , 

1 Pyr. §§ 1285-7. 2 Pyr. §§ 1505, 1508. 


they come to Osiris 1 at the sound of the mourning of Isis, 
at the cry of Nephthys, at the wailing of these two horizon- 
gods over this Great One who came forth from the Nether 
World. The souls of Buto wave their arms to thee, they 
strike their flesh for thee, they throw their arms for thee, 
they beat on their temples for thee. They say of thee, 
O Osiris: 

" ' Though thou departest, thou comest (again) ; though 
thou sleepest, thou wakest (again); though thou diest, 
thou livest (again).' 

"'Stand up, that thou mayest see what thy son has 
done for thee. Awake, that thou mayest hear what 
Horus has done for thee.' 

" ' He has smitten (hy) for thee the one that smote thee, 
as an ox (yh); he has slain (sm') for thee the one that 
slew thee, as a wild bull (sm'). He has bound for thee 
the one that bound thee.' 

"'He has put himself under thy daughter, the Great 
One (fern.) dwelling in the East, that there may be no 
mourning in the palace of the gods.' 

"Osiris speaks to Horus when he has removed the evil 
that was in Osiris on his fourth day, and had forgotten 
what was done to him on his eighth day. Thou hast 
come forth from the lake of life, purified in the celestial 
lake, becoming Upwawet. Thy son Horus leads thee 
when he has given to thee the gods who were against thee, 
and Thoth has brought them to thee. How beautiful are 
they who saw, how satisfied are they who beheld, who saw 
Horus when he gave life to his father, when he offered 
satisfaction to Osiris before the western gods." 

"Thy libation is poured by Isis, Nephthys has purified 

1 The name of the king for whom the chapter was employed has 
been inserted here. 


thee, thy two great and mighty sisters, who have put to- 
gether thy flesh, who have fastened together thy limbs, 
who have made thy two eyes to shine (again) in thy 
head." x 

Sometimes it is Horus who puts together the limbs of 
the dead god, 2 or again he finds his father as embalmed by 
his mother and Anubis: "Horus comes to thee, he sepa- 
rates thy bandages, he throws off thy bonds;" 3 "arise, give 
thou thy hand to Horus, that he may raise thee up." 
Over and over again the rising of Osiris is reiterated, as 
the human protest against death found insistent expres- 
sion in the invincible fact that he rose. We see the tomb 
opened for him: "The brick are drawn for thee out of the 
great tomb," 4 and then " Osiris awakes, the weary god 
wakens, the god stands up, he gains control of his body." 5 
"Stand up! Thou shalt not end, thou shalt not perish." 6 

The malice of Set was not spent, however, even after his 
defeat by Horus and the resurrection of Osiris. He en- 
tered the tribunal of the gods at Heliopolis and lodged with 
them charges against Osiris. We have no clear account 
of this litigation, nor of the nature of the charges, except 
that Set was using them to gain the throne of Egypt. 
There must have been a version in which the subject of 
the trial was Set's crime in slaying Osiris. In dramatic 

1 Pyr. Ut. 670, §§ 1976-82, as restored from Ut. 482 (a shorter 
redaction), and the tomb of Harhotep and the tomb of Psamtik. 
(See Sethe, Pyr. t vol. II, pp. iii-iv, Nos. 6, 10, 11). 

2 Pyr. §§ 617, 634. 3 Pyr. §§ 2201-2. 
4 Pyr. § 572. 5 Pyr. § 2092. 

6 Pyr. § 1299. Commonly so in the Pyramid Texts. It became a 
frequent means of introducing the formulas of the ritual of mortuary 
offerings, in order that the dead might be roused to partake of the 
food offered; see Pyr. §654 and §735, or Ut. 413 and 437 entire. 
The resurrection of Osiris by Re was doubtless a theological device 
for correlating the Solar and Osirian doctrines (Pyr. § 721). 


setting the Pyramid Texts depict the scene. " The sky is 
troubled, earth trembles, Horus comes, Thoth appears. 
They lift Osiris from his side; they make him stand up 
before the two Divine Enneads. ' Remember O Set, and 
put it in thy heart, this word which Geb spoke, and this 
manifestation which the gods made against you in the 
hall of the prince in Heliopolis, because thou didst fell 
Osiris to the earth. When thou didst say, O Set, " I have 
not done this to him," that thou mightest prevail thereby, 
being saved that thou mightest prevail against Horus. 
When thou didst say, O Set, "It was he who bowed me 
down" . . . When thou didst say, O Set, "It was he who 
attacked me" . . . Lift thee up, O Osiris! Set has 
lifted himself: He has heard the threat of the gods who 
spoke of the Divine Father. Isis has thy arm, Osiris; 
Nephthys has thy hand and thou goest between them.'" x 
But Osiris is triumphantly vindicated, and the throne 
is restored to him against the claims of Set. " He is justi- 
fied through that which he has done. . . . The Two Truths 2 
have held the legal hearing. Shu was witness. The Two 
Truths commanded that the thrones of Geb should revert 
to him, that he should raise himself to that which he de- 
sired, that his limbs which were in concealment should be 
gathered together (again) ; that he should join those who 
dwell in Nun (the primeval ocean); and that he should 
terminate the words in Heliopolis." 3 

iPyr. §§956-960. 

2 On the Two Truths see the same phrase in the Book of the 
Dead, infra, p. 299 and notes 2 and 3. 

3 Pyr. §§ 316-318. Compare also, '"Set is guilty, Osiris is righteous,' 
(words) from the mouth of the gods on that good day of going forth 
upon the mountain" (for the interment of Osiris) (Pyr. §1556), from 
which it would appear that there was a verdict before the resurrec- 
tion of Osiris. 


The verdict rendered in favor of Orisis, which we trans- 
late "justified/' really means "true, right, just, or right- 
eous of voice." It must have been a legal term already 
in use when this episode in the myth took form. It is 
later used in frequent parallelism with " victorious " or 
"victory," and possessed the essential meaning of "trium- 
phant" or "triumph," both in a moral as well as a purely 
material and physical sense. The later development of the 
Osirian litigation shows that it gained a moral sense in 
this connection, if it did not possess it in the beginning. 
We shall yet have occasion to observe the course of the 
moral development involved in the wide popularity of this 
incident in the Osiris myth. 

The gods rejoice in the triumph of Osiris. 

"All gods dwelling in the sky are satisfied; 
All gods dwelling in the earth are satisfied; 
All gods southern and northern are satisfied; 
All gods western and eastern are satisfied; 
All gods of the nomes are satisfied; 
All gods of the cities are satisfied; 

with this great and mighty word that came out of the 
mouth of Thoth in favor of Osiris, treasurer of life, seal- 
bearer of the gods." x 

The penalty laid upon Set was variously narrated in the 
different versions of the myth. The Pyramid Texts several 
times refer to the fact that Set was obliged to take Osiris 
on his back and carry him. "Hoi Osiris! Rouse thee! 
Horus causes that Thoth bring to thee thy enemy. He 
places thee upon his back. Make thy seat upon him. 
Ascend and sit down upon him; let him not escape thee"; 2 
or again, "The great Ennead avenges thee; they put for 

1 Pyr. §§ 1522-3. 2 Pyr. §§ G51-2; see also §§ 642, 649. 


thee thy enemy under thee. 'Carry one who is greater 
than thou/ say they of him. . . . 'Lift up one greater 
than thou/ say they. " x " ' He to whom evil was done by 
his brother Set comes to us/ say the Two Divine Enneads, 
'but we shall not permit that Set be free from bearing thee 
forever, O king Osiris/ say the Two Divine Enneads con- 
cerning thee, O king Osiris." 2 If Osiris is here the earth 
as commonly, it may be that we have in this episode the 
earliest trace of the Atlas myth. Another version, how- 
ever, discloses Set, bound hand and foot "and laid upon 
his side in the Land of Ru," 3 or slaughtered and cut up as 
an ox and distributed as food to the gods; 4 or he is de- 
livered to Osiris "cut into three pieces." 5 

The risen and victorious Osiris receives the kingdom. 
"The sky is given to thee, the earth is given to thee, the 
fields of Rushes are given to thee, the Horite regions, the 
Setite regions, the cities are given to thee. The nomes are 
united for thee by Atum. It is Geb (the Earth-god) who 
speaks concerning it." 6 Indeed Geb, the Earth-god and 
father of Osiris, "assigned the countries to the embrace of 
Osiris, when he found him lying upon his side in Gehesti. " 7 
Nevertheless Osiris does not really belong to the kingdom 
of the living. His dominion is the gloomy Nether World 
beneath the earth, to which he at once descends. After his 
death, one of the oldest sources says of him: "He entered 
the secret gates in the ^splendid 1 precincts of the lords of 
eternity, at the goings of him who rises in the horizon, upon 
the ways of Re in the Great Seat." 8 There he is pro- 
claimed king. Horus " proclaimed the royal decree in the 

1 Pyr. §§ 626-7, var. § 1628. See also § 1632. 

2 Pyr. § 1699. 3 Pyr. § 1035. 4 Pyr. Ut. 580. 
* Pyr. Ut. 543; see also 1339. 6 Pyr. § 961. 

i Pyr. § 1033. 8 Brit. Mus. Stela 797, 1. 63. 


places of Anubis. 1 Every one hearing it, he shall not live." 2 
It was a subterranean kingdom of the dead over which 
Osiris reigned, and it was as champion and friend of 
the dead that he gained his great position in Egyptian 

But it will be discerned at once that the Osiris myth ex- 
pressed those hopes and aspirations and ideals which were 
closest to the life and the affections of this great people. 
Isis was the noblest embodiment of wifely fidelity and 
maternal solicitude, while the highest ideals of filial devo- 
tion found expression in the story of Horus. About this 
group of father, mother, and son the affectionate fancy of 
the common folk wove a fair fabric of family ideals which 
rise high above such conceptions elsewhere. In the Osiris 
myth the institution of the family found its earliest and 
most exalted expression in religion, a glorified reflection of 
earthly ties among the gods. The catastrophe and the 
ultimate triumph of the righteous cause introduced here in 
a nature-myth are an impressive revelation of the pro- 
foundly moral consciousness with which the Egyptian at 
a remote age contemplated the world. When we consider, 
furthermore, that Osiris was the kindly dispenser of plenty, 
from whose prodigal hand king and peasant alike received 
their daily bounty, that he was waiting over yonder be- 
hind the shadow of death to waken all who have fallen 
asleep to a blessed hereafter with him, and that in every 
family group the same affections and emotions which had 
found expression in the beautiful myth were daily and 
hourly experiences, we shall understand something of the 
reason for the universal devotion which was ultimately 
paid the dead god. 
The conquest of Egypt by the Osiris faith was, however, 
1 An old god of the hereafter. 2 Pyr. § 1335. 



a gradual process. He had once in prehistoric times been 
a dangerous god, and the tradition of his unfavorable 
character survived in vague reminiscences long centuries 
after he had gained wide popularity. 1 At that time the 
dark and forbidding realm which he ruled had been feared 
and dreaded. 2 In the beginning, too, he had been local to 
the Delta, where he had his home in the city of Dedu, later 
called Busiris by the Greeks. His transformation into a 
friend of man and kindly ruler of the dead took place here 
in prehistoric ages, and at an enormously remote date, 
before the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were 
united under one king (3400 B.C.), the belief in him spread 
into the southern Kingdom. 3 He apparently first found 
a home in the south at Siut, and in the Pyramid Texts 
we read, "Isis and Nephthys salute thee in Siut, (even) 
their lord in thee, in thy name of 'Lord of Siut.'" 4 
But the Osirian faith was early localized at Abydos, 
whither an archaic mortuary god, known as Khenti- 
Amentiu, "First of the Westerners," had already pre- 
ceded Osiris. 5 There he became the " Dweller in Nedyt, " 6 
and even in the Pyramid Texts he is identified with the 
" First of the Westerners. " 

iPyr. §§1266-7. 

2 Pyr. §§251, 350; see also infra, pp. 142-3. 

3 This is shown in the Pyramid Texts, where the sycomore of 
Osiris is thus addressed: ''Thou hast hurled thy terror into the heart 
of the kings of Lower Egypt dwelling in Buto" (Pyr. § 1488). Osiris 
must therefore have reached Upper Egypt, and have become domi- 
ciled there at a time when the kings of the North were still hostile. 

4 Pyr. § 630. There is not space here to correlate this fact with 
Meyer's results regarding the wolf and jackal gods at Abydos and 

5 See Maspero, Etudes de mythologie et d' archeologie tgyptiennes, 
II, pp. 10, 359, etc., and Eduard Meyer, Zeilschr. fiir aegypt. 
Sprache, 41, pp. 97 ff. 

6 Pyr. § 754. 


"Thou art on the throne of Osiris, 
As representative of the First of the Westerners." ! 

As "Lord of Abydos," Osiris continued his triumphant 
career, and ultimately was better known under this title 
than by his old association with Busiris (Dedu). All this, 
however, belongs to the historical development which we 
are to follow. 

In spite of its popular origin we shall see that the Osirian 
faith, like that of the Sun-god, entered into the most in- 
timate relations with the kingship. In probably the oldest 
religious feast of which any trace has been preserved in 
Egypt, known as the "Heb-Sed" or "Sed-Feast," the 
king assumed the costume and insignia of Osiris, and un- 
doubtedly impersonated him. The significance of this 
feast is, however, entirely obscure as yet. The most sur- 
prising misunderstandings have gained currency concern- 
ing it, and the use of it for far-reaching conclusions before 
the surviving materials have all been put together is pre- 

One of the ceremonies of this feast symbolized the 
resurrection of Osiris, and it was possibly to associate the 
Pharaoh with this auspicious event that he assumed the 
role of Osiris. In the end the deceased Pharoah became 
Osiris and enjoyed the same resuscitation by Horus and 
Isis, all the divine privileges, and the same felicity in the 
hereafter which had been accorded the dead god. 

Some attempt to correlate the two leading gods of Egypt, 

^yr. §2021; see also §1996. Eduard Meyer (ibid., p. 100) 
states that Osiris is never identified with Khenti-Amentiu in the 
Pyramid Texts, and it is true that the two names are not placed side 
by side as proper name and accompanying epithet in the Pyramid 
Texts, as they are so commonly later, but such a parallel as that 
above seems to me to indicate essential identity. 


the Sun-god and Osiris, was finally inevitable. The har- 
monization was accomplished by the Solar theologians at 
Heliopolis, though not without inextricable confusion, as 
the two faiths, which had already interfused among the 
people, were now wrought together into a theological sys- 
tem. It is quite evident from the Pyramid Texts that the 
feud between Horus and Set was originally a Solar incident, 
and quite independent of the Osiris myth. We find that 
in the mortuary ceremonies, Set's spittle is used to purify 
the dead in the same words as that of Horus; 1 and that 
Set may perform the same friendly offices for the dead as 
those of Horus. 2 Indeed we find him fraternizing with the 
dead, precisely as Horus does. 3 We find them without 
distinction, one on either side of the dead, holding his arms 
and aiding him as he ascends to the Sun-god. 4 Set was 
king of the South on equal terms with Horus as king of the 
North; 5 over and over again in the Pyramid Texts they 
appear side by side, though implacable enemies, without 
the least suggestion that Set is a foul and detested divinity. 6 
There are even traces of a similar ancient correlation of 
Osiris himself with Set! 7 Set appears too without any 
unfavorable reflection upon him in connection with the 
Sun-god and his group, 8 and in harmony with this an old 
doctrine represents Set as in charge of the ladder by which 
the dead may ascend to the Sun-god — the ladder up which 
he himself once climbed. 9 Set was doubtless some natural 
phenomenon like the others of the group to which he be- 
longs, and it is most probable that he was the darkness. He 
and Horus divided Egypt between them, Set being most 

1 Pyr. § 850. 2 Pyr. §§ 1492-3. 3 Pyr. § 1016= § 801. 

4 Pyr. § 390. 6 Pyr. §§ 204-6. 

6 See Pyr. §§ 418, 473, 487, 535, 594, 601, 683, 798, 823, 946, 971, 

7 Pyr. §§ 832, 865. 8 Pyr. § 370. 9 Pyr. §§ 478, 1148, 1253. 


commonly represented as taking the South and Horus the 
North. The oldest royal monuments of Egypt represent 
the falcon of Horus and the strange animal (probably the 
okapi) of Set, side by side, as the symbol of the kingship of 
the two kingdoms now ruled by one Pharaoh. It is not 
our purpose, nor have we the space here, to study the ques- 
tion of Set, further than to demonstrate that he belonged 
to the Solar group, on full equality with Horus. 

By what process Set became the enemy of Osiris we do 
not know. The sources do not disclose it. When this 
had once happened, however, it would be but natural 
that the old rival of Set, the Solar Horus, should be 
drawn into the Osirian situation, and that his hostility 
toward Set should involve his championship of the cause 
of Osiris. An old Memphite document of the Pyramid 
Age unmistakably discloses the absorption of the Set- 
Horus feud by the Osirian theology. In dramatic dia- 
logue we discern Geb assigning their respective kingdoms 
to Horus and Set, a purely Solar episode, while at the same 
time Geb involves in this partition the incidents of the 
Osirian story. 

"Geb says to Set: 'Go to the place where thou wast 

" Geb says to Horus : ' Go to the place where thy father 
was drowned/ " 

"Geb says to Horus and Set: 'I have separated you.'" 

"Set: Upper Egypt." 

"Horus: Lower Egypt." 

" [Horus and Set] : Upper and Lower Egypt." 

" Geb says to the Divine Ennead : ' I have conveyed my 
heritage to this my heir, the son of my first-born son. He 
is my son, my child.' " 

The equality of Horus and Set, as in the old Solar 


theology, is quite evident, but Horus is here made the 
son of Osiris. An ancient commentator on this passage 
has appended the following explanation of Geb's pro- 
ceeding in assigning the kingdoms. 

" He gathered together the Divine Ennead and he sepa- 
rated Horus and Set. He prevented their conflict and 
he installed Set as king of Upper Egypt in Upper Egypt, 
in the place where he was born in Sesesu. Then Geb 
installed Horus as king of Lower Egypt, in Lower Egypt 
in the place where his father was drowned, at (the time of) 
the dividing of the Two Lands." 

"Then Horus stood in (one) district, when they satis- 
fied the Two Lands in Ayan — that is the boundary of the 
Two Lands." 

"Then Set stood in the (other) district, when they 
satisfied the Two Lands in Ayan — that is the boundary 
of the Two Lands. 

"It was evil to the heart of Geb, that the portion of 
Horus was (only) equal to the portion of Set. Then Geb 
gave his heritage to Horus, this son of his first-born son, 
and Horus stood in the land and united this land." * 

Here the Osirian point of view no longer permits Set 
and Horus to rule in equality side by side, but Set is dis- 
possessed, and Horus receives all Egypt. The Solar 
theologians of Heliopolis certainly did not take this posi- 
tion in the beginning. They built up a group, which we 
have already noted, of nine gods (commonly called an 
ennead), headed by the ancient Atum, and among this 
group of nine divinities appears Osiris, who had no real 

1 British Museum, Stela No. 797, as reconstructed by Erman, Ein 
Denkmal memphitischer Theologie (Sitzungsber. der Kgl. Preuss. Akad., 
1911, XLIII), pp. 925-932. On this remarkable monument see also 
below, pp. 43-47. 


original connection with the Solar myth. As Horus had 
no place in the original ennead, it was the more easy to 
appropriate him for the Osirian theology. As the process 
of correlation went on, it is evident also that, like Osiris, the 
local gods of all the temples were more and more drawn 
into the Solar theology. The old local Sun-gods had 
merged, and we find five Solar divinities in a single list 
in the Pyramid Texts, all addressed as Re. 1 A distinct 
tendency toward Solar henotheism, or even pantheism, 
is now discernible. Each of the leading temples and 
priesthoods endeavored to establish the local god as the 
focus of this centralizing process. The political prestige 
of the Sun-god, however, made the issue quite certain. 
It happens, however, that the system of a less important 
temple than that of Heliopolis is the one which has sur- 
vived to us. A mutilated stela in the British Museum, 
on which the priestly scribes of the eighth century B. C. 
have copied and rescued a worm-eaten papyrus which was 
falling to pieces in their day, has preserved for two thou- 
sand seven hundred years more, and thus brought down 
to our time, the only fragment of the consciously con- 
structive thought of the time, as the priests endeavored 
to harmonize into one system the vast complex of inter- 
fused local beliefs which made up the religion of Egypt. 

It was the priests of Ptah, the master craftsman of the 
gods, whose temple was at Memphis, who are at this junct- 
ure our guides in tracing the current of religious thought 
in this remote age. This earliest system, as they wrought 
it out, of course made Ptah of Memphis the great and 
central figure. He too had his Memphite ennead made 
up of a primeval Ptah and eight emanations or mani- 
festations of himself. In the employment of an ennead 
l Pyr. §§1444-9. 


to begin with, the theologians of Memphis were betray- 
ing the influence of Heliopolis, where the first ennead had 
its origin. The supremacy of the Solar theology, even in 
this Memphite system, is further discernible in the in- 
evitable admission of the fact that Atum the Sun-god 
was the actual immediate creator of the world. But this 
they explained in this way. One of the members of the 
Memphite ennead bears the name "Ptah the Great," 
and to this name is appended the remarkable explanation, 
"he is the heart and tongue of the ennead," meaning of 
course the Memphite ennead. This enigmatic "heart and 
tongue" are then identified with Atum, who, perhaps 
operating through other intermediate gods, accomplishes 
all things through the "heart and tongue." When we 
recall that the Egyptian constantly used "heart" as the 
seat of the mind, we are suddenly aware also that he pos- 
sessed no word for mind. A study of the document 
demonstrates that the ancient thinker is using "heart" as 
his only means of expressing the idea of "mind," as he 
vaguely conceived it. From Ptah then proceeded "the 
power of mind and tongue" which is the controlling 
power in " all gods, all men, all animals, and all reptiles, 
which live, thinking and commanding that which he wills." 1 
After further demonstrating that the members of Atum, 
especially his mouth which spake words of power, were 
made up of the ennead of Ptah, and thus of Ptah himself, 
our thinker passes on to explain his conception of the func- 
tion of "heart (mind) and tongue." "When the eyes see, 
the ears hear, and the nose breathes, they transmit to the 

1 The verbal form of "thinking" is questionable, but no other in- 
terpretation seems possible. Whether "he" in "he wills" refers to 
Ptah directly or to the "power of mind and tongue" is not essential, 
as the latter proceeds from Ptah. 


heart. It is he (the heart) who brings forth every issue, 
and it is the tongue which repeats the thought of the heart. 
He 1 fashioned all gods, even Atum and his ennead. Every 
divine word came into existence by the thought of the 
heart and the commandment of the tongue. It was he 
who made the kas and [created 1 the qualities; 2 who 
made all food, all offerings, by this word; who made that 
which is loved and that which is hated. It was he who 
gave life to the peaceful and death to the guilty." 

After this enumeration of things chiefly supermaterial, 
of which the mind and the tongue were the creator, our 
Memphite theologian passes to the world of material 

: "It was he who made every work, every handicraft, 
which the hands make, the going of the feet, the move- 
ment of every limb, according to his command, through 
the thought of the heart that came forth from the 

"There came the saying that Atum, who created the 
gods, stated concerning Ptah-Tatenen : 'He is the fash- 
ioner of the gods, he, from whom all things went forth, 
even offerings, and food and divine offerings and every 
good thing! And Thoth perceived that his strength was 
greater than all gods. Then Ptah was satisfied, after he 
had made all things and every divine word." 

1 Heart and tongue have the same gender in Egyptian and the pro- 
noun may equally well refer to either. I use "he" for heart and 
"it" for tongue, but, I repeat, the distinction is not certain here. 

2 Hmswt, which, as Brugsch has shown (Woerterbuch SuppL, pp. 
996 jf.), indicates the qualities of the Sun-god, here attributed, in 
origin, to Ptah. These are: "Might, radiance, prosperity, victory, 
wealth, plenty, augustness, readiness or equipment, making, intelli- 
gence, adornment, stability, obedience, nourishment (or taste)." 
They appear with the kas at royal births, wearing on their heads 
shields with crossed arrows. So at Der el-Bahri. 


"He fashioned the gods, he made the cities, he settled 
the nomes. He installed the gods in their holy places, he 
made their offerings to flourish, he equipped their holy 
places. He made likenesses of their bodies to the satis- 
faction of their hearts. Then the gods entered into their 
bodies of every wood and every stone and every metal. 
Everything grew upon its trees whence they came forth. 
Then he assembled all the gods and their kas (saying to 
them) : 'Come ye and take possession of "Neb-towe," the 
divine store-house of Ptah-Tatenen, the great seat, which 
delights the heart of the gods dwelling in the House of 
Ptah, the mistress of life . . . whence is furnished the 
"Life of the Two Lands.'"" ' 

In this document we are far indeed from the simple 
folk-tales of the origin of the world, which make up the 
mythology of Egypt. Assuming the existence of Ptah in 
the beginning, the Memphite theologian sees all things as 
first existing in the thought of the god. This world first 

1 British Museum, Stela No. 797, formerly No. 135, 11. 48-61. 
This remarkable document long rested in obscurity after its acquire- 
ment by the British Museum in 1805. The stone had been used a,s a 
nether millstone, almost abrading the inscription and rendering it so 
illegible that the process of copying was excessively difficult. It was 
early published by Sharpb (Inscriptions, I, 36-38), but the knowledge 
of the language current in his day made a usable copy impossible. 
As the signs face the end instead of the beginning as usual, Sharpe 
numbered the vertical lines backward, making the last line first. 
Mr. Bryant and Mr. Read then published a much better copy in 
the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archceology, March, 1901, 
pp. 160 ff. They still numbered the lines backward, however, and 
so translated the document. In working through the inscriptions 
of the British Museum for the Berlin Egyptian Dictionary it had 
soon become evident to me that the lines of this inscription were to 
be numbered in the other direction. I then published a fac-simile 
copy of the stone in the Zeitschrift fur aegypt. Sprache, 39, pp. 39 ff. 
I stated at the time: "The signs are very faint, and in badly worn 
places reading is excessively difficult. ... I have no doubt that 


conceived in his "heart," then assumed objective reality 
by the utterance of his "tongue." The utterance of the 
thought in the form of a divine fiat brought forth the 
world. We are reminded of the words in Genesis, as the 
Creator spoke, "And God said." Is there not here the 
primeval germ of the later Alexandrian doctrine of the 

We should not fail to understand in this earliest phil- 
osophico-religious system, that the world which Ptah 
brought forth was merely the Egyptian Nile valley. As 
we shall discover in our further progress, the world-idea 
was not yet born. This Memphite Ptah was far from 
being a world-god. The world, in so far as it was possible 
for the men of the ancient Orient to know it, was still un- 
discovered by the Memphite theologians or any other 
thinkers of that distant age, and the impression which the 
world-idea was to make on religion was still over a thou- 
sand years in the future when this venerable papyrus of 

with a better light than it is possible to get in the museum gallery, 
more could in places be gotten out." At the same time I ventured 
to publish a preliminary "rapid sketch" of the content which was un- 
doubtedly premature and which dated the early Egpytian original 
papyrus of which our stone is a copy at least as early as the Eigh- 
teenth Dynasty, adding that "some points in orthography would 
indicate a much earlier date. " Professor Erman has now published a 
penetrating critical analysis of the document (Ein Denkmal mem- 
phitischer Theologie, Sitzungsber. der Kgl. Preuss. Akad., 1911, XLIII, 
pp. 916-950) which places it on the basis of orthography in the Pyra- 
mid Age, to which I had not the courage to assign it on the same 
evidence. With a better knowledge of the Pyramid Texts and Old 
Kingdom orthography than I had twelve years ago, I wholly agree 
with Erman's date for the document, surprising as it is to find such 
a treatise in the Pyramid Age. From Lepsius's squeeze of the stone, 
Erman has also secured a number of valuable new readings, while 
the summary of the document given above is largely indebted to his 
analysis. The discussion in my History of Egypt, pp. 356-8, as far 
as it employs this document, should be eliminated from the Empire. 


the Pyramid Age was written. The forces of life which 
were first to react upon religion were those which spent 
themselves within the narrow borders of Egypt, and es- 
pecially those of moral admonition which dominate the 
inner world and which had already led the men of this 
distant age to discern for the first time in human history 
that God "gave life to the peaceful and death to the 



Among no people ancient or modern has the idea of a 
life beyond the grave held so prominent a place as among 
the ancient Egyptians. This insistent belief in a hereafter 
may perhaps have been, and experience in the land of 
Egypt has led me to believe it was, greatly favored and 
influenced by the fact that the conditions of soil and cli- 
mate resulted in such a remarkable preservation of the 
human body as may be found under natural conditions 
nowhere else in the world. In going up to the daily task 
on some neighboring temple in Nubia, I was not infre- 
quently obliged to pass through the corner of a cemetery, 
where the feet of a dead man, buried in a shallow grave, 
were now uncovered and extended directly across my path. 
They were precisely like the rough and calloused feet of 
the workmen in our excavations. How old the grave was 
I do not know, but any one familiar with the cemeteries of 
Egypt, ancient and modern, has found numerous bodies or 
portions of bodies indefinitely old which seemed about as 
well preserved as those of the living. This must have been 
a frequent experience of the ancient Egyptian, 1 and like 
Hamlet with the skull of Yorick in his hands, he must often 
have pondered deeply as he contemplated these silent 
witnesses. The surprisingly perfect state of preservation 
in which he found his ancestors whenever the digging of a 
new grave disclosed them, must have greatly stimulated 

1 See also Prof. G. Elliot Smith, The History of Mummification 
in Egypt, Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glas- 
gow, 1910. 



his belief in their continued existence, and often aroused 
his imagination to more detailed pictures of the realm and 
the life of the mysterious departed. The earliest and sim- 
plest of these beliefs began at an age so remote that they 
have left no trace in surviving remains. The cemeteries 
of the prehistoric communities along the Nile, discovered 
and excavated since 1894, disclose a belief in the future 
life which was already in an advanced stage. Thousands 
of graves, the oldest of which cannot be dated much later 
than the fifth millennium B. C, were dug by these primi- 
tive people in the desert gravels along the margin of the 
alluvium. In the bottom of the pit, which is but a few 
feet in depth, lies the body with the feet drawn up toward 
the chin and surrounded by a meagre equipment of pottery, 
flint implements, stone weapons, and utensils, and rude 
personal ornaments, all of which were of course intended 
to furnish the departed for his future life. 

From the archaic beliefs represented in such burials as 
these it is a matter of fifteen hundred years to the appear- 
ance of the earliest written documents surviving to us — 
documents from which we may draw fuller knowledge of 
the more developed faith of a people rapidly rising toward 
a high material civilization and a unified governmental 
organization, the first great state of antiquity. Much took 
place in the thought of this remote people during that 
millennium and a half, but for another half millennium 
after the beginning of written documents we are still un- 
able to discern the drift of the development. For two 
thousand years, therefore, after the stage of belief repre- 
sented by the earliest burials just mentioned, that develop- 
ment went on, though it is now a lost chapter in human 
thought which we shall never recover. 

When we take up the course of the development about 


3000 B. C, we have before us the complicated results of 
a commingling of originally distinct beliefs which have 
long since interpenetrated each other and have for many 
centuries circulated thus a tangled mass of threads which 
it is now very difficult or impossible to disentangle. 

Certain fundamental distinctions can be made, however. 
The early belief that the dead lived in or at the tomb, 
which must therefore be equipped to furnish his necessities 
in the hereafter, was one from which the Egyptian has 
never escaped entirely, not even at the present day. As 
hostile creatures infesting the cemeteries, the dead were 
dreaded, and protection from their malice was necessary. 
Even the pyramid must be protected from the malignant 
dead prowling about the necropolis, and in later times a 
man might be afflicted even in his house by a deceased 
member of his family wandering in from the cemetery. 
His mortuary practices therefore constantly gave expres- 
sion to his involuntary conviction that the departed con- 
tinued to inhabit the tomb long after the appearance of 
highly developed views regarding a blessed hereafter else- 
where in some distant region. We who continue to place 
flowers on the graves of our dead, though we may at the 
same time cherish beliefs in some remote paradise of the 
departed, should certainly find nothing to wonder at in 
the conflicting beliefs and practices of the ancient Nile- 
dweller five thousand years ago. Side by side the two be- 
liefs subsisted, that the dead continued to dwell in or near 
the tomb, and at the same time that he departed else- 
where to a distant and blessed realm. 

In taking up the first of these two beliefs, the sojourn in 
the tomb, it will be necessary to understand the Egyptian 
notion of a person, and of those elements of the human per- 
sonality which might survive death. These views are of 


course not the studied product of a highly trained and long- 
developed self-consciousness. On the contrary, we have in 
them the involuntary and unconscious impressions of an 
early people, in the study of which it is apparent that we 
are confronted by the earliest chapter in folk-psychology 
which has anywhere descended to us from the past. 

On the walls of the temple of Luxor, where the birth of 
Amenhotep III was depicted in sculptured scenes late in 
the fifteenth century before Christ, we find the little 
prince brought in on the arm of the Nile-god, accompanied 
apparently by another child. This second figure, iden- 
tical in external appearance with that of the prince, is a 
being called by the Egyptians the "ka"; it was born with 
the prince, being communicated to him by the god. 1 This 
curious comrade of an individual was corporeal 2 and the 
fortunes of the two were ever afterward closely associated; 
but the ka was not an element of the personality, as is so 
often stated. It seems to me indeed from a study of the 
Pyramid Texts, that the nature of the ka has been funda- 
mentally misunderstood. He was a kind of superior 
genius intended to guide the fortunes of the individual in 
the hereafter, or it was in the world of the hereafter that 
he chiefly if not exclusively had his abode, and there he 
awaited the coming of his earthly companion. In the old- 
est inscriptions the death of a man may be stated by say- 
ing that " he goes to his ka"; 3 when Osiris dies he " goes to 
his ka." 4 Hence the dead are referred to as those "who 
have gone to their kas." 5 Moreover, the ka was really 

1 On the creation of the kas in the beginning by the god see Brit. 
Mus. 797, infra, p. 45. 

2 Pyr. § 372. 3 BAR, I, 187, 253. 

4 Pyr. §§ 826, 832, 836; cf. also "he goes with his ka," Pyr. § 17. 
6 Petrie, Deshasheh, 7; Lepsius, Denkmaeler, Text I, 19; Pyr. 


separated from its protege by more than the mere distance 
to the cemetery, for in one passage the deceased " goes to 
his ka, to the sky." * Similarly the sojourn in the here- 
after is described as an association with the ka, 2 and one 
of the powers of the blessed dead was to have dominion 
over the other kas there. 3 In their relations with each 
other the ka was distinctly superior to his mundane com- 
panion. In the oldest texts the sign for the ka, the up- 
lifted arms, are frequently borne upon the standard 
which bears the signs for the gods. "Call upon thy ka, 
like Osiris, that he may protect thee from all anger of the 
dead," 4 says one to the deceased; and to be the ka of a 
person is to have entire control over him. Thus in ad- 
dressing Osiris it is said of Set, "He (Horus) has smitten 
Set for thee, bound; thou art his (Set's) ka." 5 In the 
hereafter, at least, a person is under the dominion of his 
own ka. The ka assists the deceased by speaking to the 
great god on his behalf, and after this intercession, by in- 
troducing the dead man to the god (Re). 6 He forages for 
the deceased and brings him food that they both may eat 
together, 7 and like two guests they sit together at the 
same table. 8 But the ka is ever the protecting genius. 
The dead king Pepi "lives with his ka; he (the ka) ex- 
pels the evil that is before Pepi, he removes the evil that 
is behind Pepi, like the boomerangs of the lord of Letopolis, 
which remove the evil that is before him and expel the 
evil that is behind him." 9 Notwithstanding their inti- 
mate association, there was danger that the ka might fail 

iPyr. §1431. 

2 "How beautiful it is with thy ka (that is, in the company of thy 
ka = in the hereafter) forever," Pyr. § 2028. 

3 Pyr. § 267 and § 311. 4 Pyr. § 63. 

6 Pyr. § 587. See also § 1609 and § 1623. 6 Pyr. Ut. 440. 

7 Pyr. § 564. 8 Pyr. § 1357. 9 Pyr. § 908. 


to recognize his protege, and the departed therefore re- 
ceived a garment peculiar to him, by means of which the 
ka may not mistake him for an enemy whom he might 
slay. 1 So strong was the ka, and so close was his union 
with his protege, that to have control over a god or a man 
it was necessary to gain the power over his ka also, 2 and 
complete justification of the deceased was only certain 
when his ka also was justified. 3 Thus united, the deceased 
and his protecting genius lived a common life in the here- 
after, and they said to the dead : " How beautiful it is in 
the company of thy ka!" 4 The mortuary priest whose 
duty it was to supply the needs of the deceased in the 
hereafter was for this reason called "servant of the ka," 
and whatever he furnished the ka was shared by him with 
his protege, as we have seen him foraging for his charge, 
and securing for him provisions which they ate together. 
Eventually, that is after a long development, we find 
the tombs of about 2000 B. C. regularly containing 
prayers for material blessings in the hereafter ending 
with the words: "for the ka of X" (the name of the 

While the relation of the ka to the dead is thus fairly 
clear, it is not so evident in the case of the living. His 
protecting power evidently had begun at the birth of the 
individual, though he was most useful to his protege after 
earthly life was over. We find the ka as the protecting 
genius of a mortuary temple dwelling on earth, but it is 
certainly significant that it is a mortuary building which 
he protects. Moreover the earliest example of such a 
local genius is Osiris, a mortuary god, who is said to become 
the ka of a pyramid and its temple, that they may enjoy 

iPyr. Ut. 591. 2 Pyr. §776. 

3 Pyr. § 929. 4 Pyr. § 2028. 


his protection. 1 As we stated above, however, the ka was 
not an element of the personality, and we are not called 
upon to explain him physically or psychologically as such. 
He is roughly parallel with the later notion of the guardian 
angel as found among other peoples, and he is of course 
far the earliest known example of such a being. It is of 
importance to note that in all probability the ka was orig- 
inally the exclusive possession of kings, each of whom thus 
lived under the protection of his individual guardian 
genius, and that by a process of slow development the 
privilege of possessing a ka became universal among all 
the people. 2 

The actual personality of the individual in life consisted, 
according to the Egyptian notion, in the visible body, and 
the invisible intelligence, the seat of the last being con- 
sidered the "heart" or the "belly," 3 which indeed fur- 
nished the chief designations for the intelligence. Then 
the vital principle which, as so frequently among other 
peoples, was identified with the breath which animated 
the body, was not clearly distinguished from the intelli- 
gence. The two together were pictured in one symbol, a 

1 Pyr. Texts. A later example is found in the temple of Seti I, latter 
half of the fourteenth century B. C, in a relief where the ka is de- 
picted as a woman, with the ka sign of uplifted arms on her head, 
embracing the name of Seti's Gurna temple. Champollion, Monu- 
ments, pi. 151, Nos. 2 and 3. 

2 1 owe this last remark to Steindorff, who has recently published 
a reconsideration of the ka (Zeitschriftfilr aegypt. Sprache, 48,151 ff), 
disproving the old notion that the mortuary statues in the tombs, 
especially of the Old Kingdom, are statues of the ka. He is un- 
doubtedly right. After the collection of the above data it was grati- 
fying to receive the essay of Steindorff and to find that he had 
arrived at similar conclusions regarding the nature and function 
of the ka, though in making the ka so largely mortuary in function I 
differ with him. 

1 3 See above, pp. 44-45; and my essay, Zeitsch. fur aegypt. Sprache, 
39, pp. 39 ff. 


human-headed bird with human arms, which we find in 
the tomb and coffin scenes depicted hovering over the 
mummy and extending to its nostrils in one hand the 
figure of a swelling sail, the hieroglyph for wind or breath, 
and in the other the so-called crux ansata, or symbol of 
life. This curious little bird-man was called by the Egyp- 
tians the "ba." The fact has been strangely overlooked 
that originally the ba came into existence really for the 
first time at the death of the individual. All sorts of de- 
vices and ceremonies were resorted to that the deceased 
might at death become a ba, or as the Pyramid Texts, ad- 
dressing the dead king, say, "that thou mayest become 
a ba among the gods, thou living as (or 'in') thy ba." l 
There was a denominative verb "ba," meaning "to be- 
come a ba." Ba has commonly been translated as " soul," 
and the translation does indeed roughly correspond to the 
Egyptian idea. It is necessary to remember, however, in 
dealing with such terms as these among so early a people, 
that they had no clearly defined notion of the exact nature 
of such an element of personality. It is evident that the 
Egyptian never wholly dissociated a person from the 
body as an instrument or vehicle of sensation, and they 
resorted to elaborate devices to restore to the body its 
various channels of sensibility, after the ba, which com- 
prehended these very things, had detached itself from the 
body. He thought of his departed friend as existing in 
the body, or at least as being in outward appearance still 
possessed of a body, as we do, if we attempt to picture our 
departed friend at all. Hence, when depicted in mortuary 
paintings, the departed of course appears as he did in life. 2 

1 Pyr. § 1943 b. 

2 There were other designations of the dead, but there were not 
additional elements of his personality besides the ba and the body, 
as we find it so commonly stated in the current discussions of this 
subject. Thus the dead were thought of as "glorious" (y'fcw), 


In harmony with these conceptions was the desire of 
the surviving relatives to insure physical restoration to 
the dead. Gathered with the relatives and friends of the 
deceased, on the flat roof of the massive masonry tomb, 
the mortuary priest stood over the silent body and ad- 
dressed the departed: "Thy bones perish not, thy flesh 
sickens not, thy members are not distant from thee." l 
Or he turns to the flesh of the dead itself and says: "O 
flesh of this king Teti, decay not, perish not; let not thy 
odor be evil. " 2 He utters a whole series of strophes, each 
concluding with the refrain: "King Pepi decays not, he 
rots not, he is not bewitched by your wrath, ye gods." 3 

However effective these injunctions may have been, they 
were not considered sufficient. The motionless body must 
be resuscitated and restored to the use of its members and 
senses. This resurrection might be the act of a favoring 
god or goddess, as when accomplished by Isis or Horus, or 
the priest addresses the dead and assures him that the Sky- 

and in the Pyramid Texts are frequently spoken of as the " glori- 
ous " just as we say the " blessed." The fact that they later spoke 
of " his y'hw," that is " his glorious one," does not mean that the 
y'hw was another element in the personality. This is shown in the 
reference to Osiris when he died, as " going to his y'hw " (Pyr. § 472), 
which is clearly a substitution of y'lrw for ka, in the common phrase 
for dying, namely, " going to his ka." The use of y'&w with the 
pronoun, namely, " his y'few," is rare in the Pyramid Texts, but came 
into more common use in the Middle Kingdom, as in the Misan- 
thrope, who addresses his soul as his y'fcw. Similarly the " shadow " 
is only another symbol, but not another element of the personality. 
There is no ground for the complicated conception of a person in 
ancient Egypt as consisting, besides the body of a ka, a ba (soul), a 
y'hw (spirit), a shadow, etc. Besides the body and the ba (soul), 
there was only the ka, the protecting genius, which was not an element 
of the personality as we have said. 

1 Pyr. § 725. 2 Pyr. § 722. 

3 Pyr. Ut. 576; see also preservation from decay by Isis and 
Nephthys, Pyr. § 1255. 


goddess will raise him up : " She sets on again for thee thy 
head, she gathers for thee thy bones, she unites for thee 
thy members, she brings for thee thy heart into thy body." 1 
Sometimes the priest assumes that the dead does not even 
enter the earth at interment and assures the mourning 
relatives : " His abomination is the earth, king Unis enters 
not Geb (the Earth-god). When he perishes, sleeping in 
his house on earth, his bones are restored, his injuries are 
removed." 2 But if the inexorable fact be accepted that 
the body now lies in the tomb, the priest undauntedly 
calls upon the dead: "Arise, dwellers in your tombs. 
Loose your r bandages, 1 throw off the sand from thy (sic!) 
face. Lift thee up from upon thy left side, support thyself 
on thy right side. Raise thy face that thou mayest look at 
this which I have done for thee. I am thy son, I am thy 
heir." 3 He assures the dead: "Thy bones are gathered 
together for thee, thy members are prepared for thee, thy 
impurities 1 are thrown off for thee, thy bandages are loosed 
for thee. The tomb is opened for thee, the coffin is bro- 
ken open for thee. " 4 And yet the insistent fact of death 
so inexorably proclaimed by the unopened tomb led the 
priest to call upon the dead to waken and arise before each 
ceremony which he performed. As he brings food and 
drink we find him calling: "Raise thee up, king Pepi, 
receive to thee thy water. Gather to thee thy bones, 
stand thou up upon thy two feet, being a glorious one be- 
fore the glorious. Raise thee up for this thy bread which 
cannot dry up, and thy beer which cannot become stale." 5 
But even when so raised the dead was not in possession 

1 Pyr. § 835. 2 Pyr. § 308. 

3 Pyr. §§ 1878-9. 4 Pyr. § 2008-9. 

5 Pyr. §§ 858-9; see also the resuscitation before purification, Pyr. 
§§ 837, 841, and not uncommonly. 


of his senses and faculties, nor the power to control and 
use his body and limbs. His mourning friends could not 
abandon him to the uncertain future without aiding him 
to recover all his powers. "King Teti's mouth is opened 
for him, king Teti's nose is opened for him, king Teti's ears 
are opened for him, " l says the priest, and elaborate cere- 
monies were performed to accomplish this restoration of 
the senses and the faculty of speech. 2 

All this was of no avail, however, unless the unconscious 
body received again the seat of consciousness and feeling, 
which in this restoration of the mental powers was reg- 
ularly the heart. "The heart of king Teti is not taken 
away," 3 says the ritual; or if it has gone the Sky-goddess 
"brings for thee thy heart into thy body (again)." 4 

Several devices were necessary to make of this unre- 
sponsive mummy a living person, capable of carrying on 
the life hereafter. He has not become a ba, or a soul 
merely by dying, as we stated in referring to the nature of 
the ba. It was necessary to aid him to become a soul. 
Osiris when lying dead had become a soul by receiving 
from his son Horus the latter's eye, wrenched from the 
socket in his conflict with Set. Horus, recovering his eye, 
gave it to his father, and on receiving it Osiris at once be- 
came a soul. From that time any offering to the dead 
might be, and commonly was, called the "eye of Horus," 
and might thus produce the same effect as on Osiris. 

1 Pyr. § 712. 

2 See also Pyr. §§ 9, 10, and for the opening of the mouth, especially 
Ut. 20, 21, 22, 34, 38; for the opening of the eyes, Ut. 638, 639; for 
the opening of eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, see Pyr. § 1673. 

3 Pyr. § 748. 

4 Pyr. § 828= §835; the heart may also be restored to the body by 
Horus, Pyr. Ut. 595, or by Nephthys, Ut. 628. 


"Raise thee up," says the priest, "for this thy bread, 
which cannot dry up, and thy beer which cannot become 
stale, by ivhich thou shalt become a soul." 1 The food 
which the priest offered possessed the mysterious power of 
effecting the transformation of the dead man into a soul 
as the "eye of Horus" had once transformed Osiris. And 
it did more than this, for the priest adds, " by which thou 
shalt become one prepared. " 2 To be " one prepared" or, 
as the variants have it, "one equipped," is explained in the 
tombs of the Old Kingdom, where we find the owner 
boasting, " I am an excellent, equipped spirit, I know every 
secret charm of the court." 3 This man, a provincial 
noble, is proud of the fact that he was granted the great 
boon of acquaintance with the magical mortuary equip- 
ment used for the king at the court, an equipment intended 
to render the dead invulnerable and irresistible in the here- 
after. We are able then to understand another noble of the 
same period when he says: "I am an excellent equipped 
spirit (literally, 'glorious one') whose mouth knows," 4 
meaning his mouth is familiar with the mortuary magical 
equipment, which he is able to repeat whenever needed. 
Similarly one of the designations of the departed in the 
Pyramid Texts is " the glorious by reason of their equipped 
mouths." 5 Finally this strangely potent bread and beer 
which the priest offers the dead, not only makes him a 
"soul" and makes him "prepared," but it also gives him 
"power" or makes him a "mighty one." 6 The "power" 
conferred was in the first place intended to control the body 
of the dead and guide its actions, and without this power in- 
tended for this specific purpose it is evident the Egyptian 
believed the dead to be helpless. 7 This "power" was also 

1 Pyr. § 859. 2 Ibid. « BAR, I, 378. * BAR, I, 329. 

5 Pyr. Ut. 473. 6 Pyr. § 859. 7 Pyr. § 2096. 


intended to give the dead ability to confront successfully 
the uncanny adversaries who awaited him in the beyond. 
It was so characteristic of the dead, that they might be 
spoken of as the " mighty " as we say the "blessed,'' and 
it was so tangible a part of the equipment of the departed 
that it underwent purification together with him. 1 This 
"power" finally gave the deceased also "power" over all 
other powers within him, and the priest says to him, 
"Thou hast power over the powers that are in thee." 2 

From these facts it is evident that the Egyptians had 
developed a rude psychology of the dead, in accordance 
with which they endeavored to reconstitute the individual 
by processes external to him, under the control of the sur- 
vivors, especially the mortuary priest who possessed the 
indispensable ceremonies for accomplishing this end. We 
may summarize it all in the statement that after the re- 
suscitation of the body, there was a mental restoration or 
a reconstitution of the faculties one by one, attained es- 
pecially by the process of making the deceased a "soul" 
(ba), in which capacity he again existed as a person, pos- 
sessing all the powers that would enable him to subsist 
and survive in the life hereafter. It is therefore not cor- 
rect to attribute to the Egyptians a belief in the immortality 
of the soul strictly interpreted as imperishability or to 
speak of his "ideas of immortality." 3 

1 Pyr. § 837. 2 Pyr. § 2011. 

3 The above does not exhaust the catalogue of qualities which were 
thought valuable to the dead and were communicated to him in the 
Pyramid Texts. Thus they say of the deceased : " His fearfulness (b'w) 
is on his head, his terror is at his side, his magical charms are before 
him" (Pyr. §477). For "fearfulness" a variant text has "lion's- 
head" (Pyr. § 940), which was a mask placed over the head of the de- 
ceased. With this should be compared the equipment of the deceased 
with a jackal's face, not infrequently occurring (e. g., Pyr. § 2098), 
which of course is a survival of the influence of the ancient mortuary 


That life now involved an elaborate material equipment, 
a monumental tomb with its mortuary furniture. The 
massive masonry tomb, like a truncated pyramid with very 
steep sides, was but the rectangular descendant of the 
prehistoric tumulus, with a retaining wall around it, once 
of rough stones, now of carefully laid hewn stone masonry, 
which has taken on some of the incline of its ancient 
ancestor, the sand heap, or tumulus, still within it. In the 
east side of the superstructure, which was often of impos- 
ing size, was a rectangular room, perhaps best called a 
chapel, where the offerings for the dead might be pre- 
sented and these ceremonies on his behalf might be per- 
formed. For, notwithstanding the elaborate reconstitu- 
tion of the dead as a person, he was not unquestionably 
able to maintain himself in the hereafter without assist- 
ance from his surviving relatives. All such mortuary ar- 
rangements were chiefly Osirian, for in the Solar faith the 
Sun-god did not die among men, nor did he leave a family 
to mourn for him and maintain mortuary ceremonies on 
his behalf. To be sure, the oldest notion of the relation 

god, of the jackal head, Anubis. Two other variant passages (§ 992 
and § 1472) have "ba" (soul) instead of "fearf illness" above. This 
threefold equipment was that of Osiris. It is found several times, 
e. g., in § 1559, where the text states: "His power is within him, his 
soul (ba) is behind him, his preparation (or equipment) is upon him, 
which Horus gave to Osiris. " Again it is fourfold, as in Pyr. § 1730, 
where the appropriate recitation is enjoined 

" that he may be a glorious one thereby, 
that he may be a soul thereby, 
that he may be an honored one thereby, 
that he may be a powerful (or mighty) one thereby" 

(Pyr. § 1730). 
Similarly the ceremony of offering ointment to the dead is performed, 
and as a result the priest says, "Thou art a soul thereby, thou art a 
mighty one thereby, thou art an honored one thereby" (Pyr. § 2075), 
omitting the "equipment" or "preparation." It is also omitted in 
Pyr. § 2096 and § 2098. 


of Osiris to the dead, which is discernible in the Pyramid 
Texts, represents him as hostile to them, but this is an 
archaic survival of which only a trace remains. 1 As a 
son of Geb the Earth-god, it was altogether natural to 
confide the dead to his charge. 2 

It was the duty of every son to arrange the material 
equipment of his father for the life beyond — a duty so 
naturally and universally felt that it involuntarily passed 
from the life of the people into the Osiris myth as the 
duty of Horus toward his father Osiris. It was an obli- 
gation which was sometimes met with faithfulness in the 
face of difficulty and great danger, as when Sebni of Ele- 
phantine received news of the death of his father, Mekhu, 
in the Sudan, and at once set out with a military escort to 
penetrate the country of the dangerous southern tribes 
and to rescue the body of his father. The motive for such 
self-sacrifice was of course the desire to recover his father's 
body that it might be embalmed and preserved, in order 
that the old man might not lose all prospect of life beyond. 
Hence it was that when the son neared the frontier on his 
return, he sent messengers to the court with news of what 
had happened, so that as he re-entered Upper Egypt he 
was met by a company from the court, made up of the 
embalmers, mortuary priests, and mourners, bearing 
fragrant oil, aromatic gums, and fine linen, that all the 
ceremonies of embalmment, interment, and complete 
equipment for the hereafter might be completed at once, 
before the body should further perish. 3 

The erection of the tomb was an equally obvious duty 
incumbent upon sons and relatives, unless indeed that 
father was so attached to his own departed father that he 
desired to rest in his father's tomb, as one noble of the 

1 Ut. 534. 2 Ut. 592. 3 BAR, I, 362-374. 


twenty-sixth century B. C. informs us was his wish. He 
says: "Now I caused that I should be buried in the same 
tomb with this Zau (his father's name) in order that I 
might be with him in the same place; not, however, be- 
cause I was not in a position to make a second tomb ; but 
I did this in order that I might see this Zau every day, in 
order that I might be with him in the same place." l 
This pious son says further: "I buried my father, the 
count Zau, surpassing the splendor, surpassing the goodli- 
ness of any r equal ] of his who was in this South" (meaning 
Upper Egypt). 2 

From the thirty-fourth century on, as the tombs of 
the First Dynasty at Abydos show, it had become cus- 
tomary for favorite officials and partisans of the Pharaoh 
to be buried in the royal cemetery, forming a kind of mor- 
tuary court around the monarch whom they had served in 
life. Gradually the king became more and more involved 
in obligations to assist his nobles in the erection of their 
tombs and to contribute from the royal treasury to the 
splendor and completeness of their funerals. The favor- 
ite physician of the king receives a requisition on the treas- 
ury and the royal quarries for the labor and the transpor- 
tation necessary to procure him a great and sumptuous 
false door of massive limestone for his tomb, and he tells 
us the fact with great satisfaction and much circumstance 
in his tomb inscriptions. 3 We see the Pharaoh in the royal 
palanquin on the road which mounts from the valley to 
the desert plateau, whither he has ascended to inspect his 
pyramid, now slowly rising on the margin of the desert 
overlooking the valley. Here he discovers the unfinished 

1 BAR, I, 383; other examples of filial piety in the same respect, 
BAR, I, 181-7, 248, 274 

2 BAR, I, 382. 3 BAR, I, 237-240. 


tomb of Debhen, one of his favorites, who may have pre- 
sumed upon a moment of royal complaisance to call atten- 
tion to its unfinished condition. The king at once details 
fifty men to work upon the tomb of his protege, and after- 
ward orders the royal engineers and quarrymen who are 
at work upon a temple in the vicinity to bring for the 
fortunate Debhen two false doors of stone, the blocks for 
the facade of the tomb, and likewise a portrait statue of 
Debhen to be erected therein. 1 One of the leading nobles 
who was flourishing at the close of the twenty-seventh 
century B. C. tells us in his autobiography how he was 
similarly favored: "Then I besought ... the majesty 
of the king that there be brought for me a limestone sar- 
cophagus from Troja (royal quarries near Cairo, from 
which much stone for the pyramids of Gizeh was taken). 
The king had the treasurer of the god (= Pharaoh's treas- 
urer) ferry over, together with a troop of sailors under his 
hand, in order to bring for me this sarcophagus from 
Troja; and he arrived with it in a large ship belonging 
to the court (that is, one of the royal galleys), together 
with its lid, the false door . . . (several other blocks the 
words for which are not quite certain in meaning), and 
one offering-tablet." 2 

In such cases as these, and indeed quite frequently, the 
king was expected to contribute to the embalmment and 
burial of a favorite noble. We have already seen how the 
Pharaoh sent out his body of mortuary officials, priests, and 
embalmers to meet Sebni, returning from the Sudan with 
his father's body. 3 Similarly he despatched one of his 
commanders to rescue the body of an unfortunate noble 
who with his entire military escort had been massacred by 
the Bedwin on the shores of the Red Sea, while building 

1 BAR, I, 210-212. 2 BAR, I, 308. 3 See above, p. 61. 


a ship for the voyage to Punt, the Somali coast, in 
all likelihood the land of Ophir of the Old Testament. 
Although the rescuer does not say so in his brief inscrip- 
tion, it is evident that the Pharaoh desired to secure the 
body of this noble also in order to prepare it properly for 
the hereafter. 1 Such solicitude can only have been due to 
the sovereign's personal attachment to a favorite official. 
This is quite evident in the case of Weshptah, one of the 
viziers of the Fifth Dynasty about 2700 B. C. The king, 
his family, and the court were one day inspecting a new 
building in course of construction under Weshptah's 
superintendence, for, besides being grand vizier, he was 
also chief architect. All admire the work and the king 
turns to praise his faithful minister when he notices that 
Weshptah does not hear the words of royal favor. The 
king's exclamation alarms the courtiers, the stricken min- 
ister is quickly carried to the court, and the priests and 
chief physicians are hurriedly summoned. The king has 
a case of medical rolls brought in, but all is in vain. The 
physicians declare his case hopeless. The king is smitten 
with sorrow and retires to his chamber, where he prays to 
Re. He then makes all arrangements for Weshptah's 
burial, ordering an ebony coffin made and having the 
body anointed in his own presence. The dead noble's 
eldest son was then empowered to build the tomb, which 
the king furnished and endowed. 2 The noble whose pious 
son wished to rest in the same tomb with him (p. 64) en- 
joyed similar favor at the king's hands. His son says: 
" I requested as an honor from the majesty of my lord, the 
king of Egypt, Pepi II, who lives forever, that there be 
levied a coffin, clothing, and festival perfume for this Zau 
(his dead father). His majesty caused that the custodian 
i BAR, I, 360. 2 BAR, I, 242-9. 


of the royal domain should bring a coffin of wood, festival 
perfume, oil, clothing, two hundred pieces of first-grade 
linen and of fine southern linen . . . taken from the 
White House (the royal treasury) of the court for this 
Zau." 1 

Interred thus in royal splendor and equipped with sump- 
tuous furniture, the maintenance of the departed, in theory 
at least, through all time was a responsibility which he dared 
not intrust exclusively to his surviving family or eventu- 
ally to a posterity whose solicitude on his behalf must con- 
tinue to wane and finally disappear altogether. The 
noble therefore executed carefully drawn wills and testa- 
mentary endowments, the income from which was to be 
devoted exclusively to the maintenance of his tomb and 
the presentation of oblations of incense, ointment, food, 
drink, and clothing in liberal quantities and at frequent 
intervals. The source of this income might be the rev- 
enues from the noble's own lands or from his offices 
and the perquisites belonging to his rank, from all of which 
a portion might be permanently diverted for the support 
of his tomb and its ritual. 2 

In a number of cases the legal instrument establishing 
these foundations has been engraved as a measure of 
safety on the wall inside the tomb-chapel itself and has 
thus been preserved to us. At Siut Hepzefi the count and 
baron of the province has left us ten elaborate contracts on 
the inner wall of his tomb-chapel, intended to perpetuate 
the service which he desired to have regularly celebrated at 
his tomb or on his behalf. 3 

The amount of the endowment was sometimes surpris- 

1 BAR, I, 382. 

2 BAR, I, 200-9, 213-222, 226-230, 231, 349, 378, 535-593. 

3 BAR, I, 535-593. They will be found in substance infra, pp. 


ingly large. In the twenty-ninth century B. C, the tomb 
of prince Nekure, son of king Khafre of the Fourth Dy- 
nasty, was endowed from the prince's private fortune with 
no less than twelve towns, the income of which went ex- 
clusively to the support of his tomb. A palace steward 
in Userkaf's time, in the middle of the twenty-eighth cen- 
tury B. C, appointed eight mortuary priests for the ser- 
vice of his tomb, and a baron of Upper Egypt two centuries 
and a half later endowed his tomb with the revenues from 
eleven villages and settlements. The income of a mortu- 
ary priest in such a tomb was, in one instance, sufficient 
to enable him to endow the tomb of his daughter in the 
same way. In addition to such private resources, the 
death of a noble not infrequently resulted in further gen- 
erosity on the part of the king, who might either increase 
the endowment which the noble had already made during 
his life, or even furnish it entirely from the royal revenues. 1 
The privileges accruing to the dead from these endow- 
ments, while they were intended to secure him against all 
apprehension of hunger, thirst, or cold in the future life, 
seem to have consisted chiefly in enabling him to share in 
the most important feasts and celebrations of the year. 
Like all Orientals the Egyptian took great delight in re- 
ligious celebrations, and the good cheer which abounded 
on such occasions he was quite unwilling to relinquish 
when he departed this world. The calendar of feasts, 
therefore, was a matter of the greatest importance to him, 
and he was willing to divert plentiful revenues to enable 
him to celebrate all its important days in the hereafter as 
he had once so bountifully done among his friends on 
earth. He really expected, moreover, to celebrate these 

1 So with the vizier, Weshptah, above, p. 66; see also BAR, I, 
378, 241, 213-230. 


joyous occasions among his friends in the temple just 
as he once had been wont to do, and to accomplish 
this he had a statue of himself erected in the temple court. 
Sometimes the king, as a particular distinction granted to 
a powerful courtier, commissioned the royal sculptors to 
make such a statue and station it inside the temple door. 
In his tomb likewise the grandee of the Pyramid Age set 
up a sumptuous stone portrait statue of himself, concealed 
in a secret chamber hidden in the mass of the masonry. 
Such statues, too, the king not infrequently furnished to 
the leading nobles of his government and court. It was 
evidently supposed that this portrait statue, the earliest 
of which we know anything in art, might serve as a body 
for the disembodied dead, who might thus return to enjoy 
a semblance at least of bodily presence in the temple, or 
again in the same way return to the tomb-chapel, where 
he might find other representations of his body in the 
secret chamber close by the chapel. 1 

We discern in such usages the emergence of a more 
highly developed and more desirable hereafter, which has 
gradually supplanted the older and simpler views. The 
common people doubtless still thought of their dead 
either as dwelling in the tomb, or at best as inhabiting 
the gloomy realm of the west, the subterranean kingdom 
ruled by the old mortuary gods eventually led by Osiris. 
But for the great of the earth, the king and his nobles at 
least, a happier destiny had now dawned. They might 
dwell at will with the Sun-god in his glorious celestial 
kingdom. In the royal tomb we can henceforth discern 
the emergence of this Solar hereafter (cf. pp. 140-1). 

1 The supposition that these statues were intended to be those of 
the ka in particular is without foundation. Ka statues are nowhere 
mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, nor does the inscription regularly 
placed on such a statue ever refer to it as a statue of the ka. Later 
see also Steindorff, Zeitschr. fiir aegypt. Sprache, 48, 152-9. 



The Pharaoh himself might reasonably expect that his 
imposing tomb would long survive the destruction of the 
less enduring structures in which his nobles were laid, and 
that his endowments, too, might be made to outlast those 
of his less powerful contemporaries. The pyramid as a 
stable form in architecture has impressed itself upon all 
time. Beneath this vast mountain of stone, as a result 
of its mere mass and indestructibility alone, the Pharaoh 
looked forward to the permanent survival of his body, 
and of the personality with which it was so indissolubly 
involved. Moreover, the origin of the monument, hitherto 
overlooked, made it a symbol of the highest sacredness, 
rising above the mortal remains of the king, to greet the 
Sun, whose offspring the Pharaoh was. 

The pyramid form may be explained by an examination 
of the familiar obelisk form. The obelisk, as is commonly 
known, is a symbol sacred to the Sun-god. So far as I 
am aware, however, little significance has heretofore been 
attached to the fact that the especially sacred portion of 
the obelisk is the pyramidal apex with which it is sur- 
mounted. An obelisk is simply a pyramid upon a lofty 
base which has indeed become the shaft. In the Old 
Kingdom Sun-temples at Abusir, this is quite clear, the 
diameter of the shaft being at the bottom quite one-third 



of its height. Thus the shaft appears as a high base, 
upon which the surmounting pyramid is supported. 
This pyramidal top is the essential part of the monument 
and the significant symbol which it bore. The Egyptians 
called it a benben (or benbenet), which we translate "pyra- 
midion," and the shaft or high base would be without 
significance without it. Thus, when Sesostris I proclaims 
to posterity the survival of his name in his Heliopolis 
monuments, he says: 

" My beauty shall be remembered in his house, 
My name is the pyramidion and my name is the lake." l 

His meaning is that his name shall survive on his great 
obelisks, and in the sacred lake which he excavated. The 
king significantly designates the obelisk, however, by the 
name of its pyramidal summit. Now the long recognized 
fact that the obelisk is sacred to the sun, carries with it 
the demonstration that it is the pyramid surmounting the 
obelisk which is sacred to the Sun-god. Furthermore, the 
sanctuary at Heliopolis was early designated the " Benben- 
house," that is the "pyramidion-house." 2 The symbol, 
then, by which the sanctuary of the Sun-temple at Heli- 
opolis was designated was a pyramid. Moreover, there 
was in this same Sun-temple a pyramidal object called a 
"ben," presumably of stone standing in the "Phoenix- 
house"; and upon this pyramidal object the Sun-god in 
the form of a Phoenix had in the beginning first appeared. 
This object was already sacred as far back as the middle 
of the third millennium B. C., 3 and will doubtless have 

1 BAR, I, 503. 

2 BAR, III, 16, 1. 5; Cairo Hymn to Amon, V, 11. 1-2, VIII, 11. 3-4; 
Piankhi Stela, 1. 105 = BAR, IV, 871. 

3 Pyr. § 1652. 


been vastly older. We may conjecture that it was one of 
those sacred stones, which gained their sanctity in times 
far back of all recollection or tradition, like the Ka'aba at 
Mecca. In hieroglyphic the Phcenix is represented as 
sitting upon this object, the form of which was a univer- 
sally sacred symbol of the Sun-god. Hence it is that in 
the Pyramid Texts the king's pyramid tomb is placed 
under the protection of the Sun-god in two very clear 
chapters, 1 the second of which opens with a reference to 
the fact that the Sun-god when he created the other gods 
was sitting aloft on the ben as a Phcenix, and hence it is 
that the king's pyramid is placed under his protection. 
(See pp. 76-77.) 

The pyramidal form of the king's tomb therefore was of 
the most sacred significance. The king was buried under 
the very symbol of the Sun-god which stood in the holy 
of holies in the Sun-temple at Heliopolis, a symbol upon 
which, from the day when he created the gods, he was ac- 
customed to manifest himself in the form of the Phcenix; 
and when in mountainous proportions the pyramid rose 
above the king's sepulchre, dominating the royal city be- 
low and the valley beyond for many miles, it was the lofti- 
est object which greeted the Sun-god in all the land, and 
his morning rays glittered on its shining summit long be- 
fore he scattered the shadows in the dwellings of humbler 
mortals below. We might expect to find some hint of all 
this on the pyramids themselves, and in this expectation 
we are not disappointed, in spite of the fact that hitherto 
no exterior inscription has ever been found actually in 
position in the masonry of a pyramid, so sadly have they 
suffered at the hands of time and vandals. A magnificent 

1 Ut. 599 and 600. Their content with quotations is given be- 
low, pp. 76-77. 


pyramidal block of polished granite, found lying at the 
base of Amenemhet Ill's pyramid at Dahshur, is, however, 
unquestionably the ancient apex of that monument, from 
which it has fallen down as a result of the quarrying by 
modern natives. 1 

On the side which undoubtedly faced the east appears 
a winged sun-disk, surmounting a pair of eyes, beneath 
which are the words "beauty of the sun," the eyes of 
course indicating the idea of beholding, which is to be 
understood with the words "beauty of the sun." Below 
is an inscription 2 of two lines beginning: "The face of 
king Amenemhet III is opened, that he may behold the 
Lord of the Horizon when he sails across the sky." 3 

Entirely in harmony with this interpretation of the sig- 
nificance of the pyramid form is its subsequent mortuary 
use. A large number of small stone pyramids, each cut 
from a single block, has been found in the cemeteries of 
later times. On opposite sides of such a pyramid is a niche 
in which the deceased appears kneeling with upraised hands, 
while the accompanying inscriptions represent him as sing- 
ing a hymn to the Sun-god, on one side to the rising and 
on the other to the setting sun. The larger museums of 
Europe possess numbers of these small monuments. 

1 It was published, without indication of its original position, by 
Maspero, Annates du Service des antiquites, III, pp. 206 ff. and 
plate; see Schaefer, Zeitschrift fur aegypt. Sprache, 41, 84, who 
demonstrates its original position. This had also been noted in 
the author's History of Egypt, Fig. 94. 

2 The same inscription is found accompanying the eyes on the 
outside of the Middle Kingdom coffin of Sebek-o at Berlin. (See 
Steindorff, Grabfunde des Mittleren Reichs, II, 5, 1.) 

3 It is evident that the identification of Osiris with the pyramid and 
temple in Pyr. §§ 1657-8 is secondary and another evidence of his 
intrusion in the Solar faith of which the Pyr. Texts furnish so many 


In the selection of the pyramid, the greatest of the Solar 
symbols, as the form of the king's tomb, we must there- 
fore recognize another evidence of the supremacy of the 
Solar faith at the court of the Pharaohs. 1 It is notable in 
this connection that it was chiefly against Osiris and the 
divinities of his cycle that protection was sought at the 
dedication of a royal pyramid tomb. 2 

The imposing complex of which the pyramid was the 
chief member has only been understood in recent years as 
a result of the excavations of the Deutsche Orient-Gesell- 
schaft at Abusir. The pyramid occupied a prominent 
position on the margin of the desert plateau overlooking 
the Nile valley. On its east side, properly called the front 
of the monument, and abutting on the masonry of the 
pyramid, rose an extensive temple, with a beautiful col- 
onnaded court in front, storage chambers on either side, 
and in the rear a holy place. The back wall of this " holy 
of holies " was the east face of the pyramid itself, in which 
was a false door. Through this the dead king might step 
forth to receive and enjoy the offerings presented to him 
here. A covered causeway of massive masonry led up 
from the valley below to the level of the plateau where 
pyramid and temple stood, and extended to the very door 

1 There is possibly another connection in which the pyramid form 
may be discerned as belonging to the Sun-god. The triangle of 
zodiacal light which some have claimed to be able to discover in the 
east at sunrise at certain times, and the writing of the Solar god, 
Soped's name with a triangle or pyramid after it, may have some 
connection with the use of the pyramid as a Solar symbol. The 
architectural evolution of the form through the compound mastaba, 
the terraced structure, like the so-called "terraced pyramid" of 
Sakkara, has long been understood. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 534, all of which is a long prayer intended to prevent the 
appropriation of pyramid, temple, and their possessions by Osiris or 
the gods of his cycle. This important Utterance is taken up again 
in connection with the dedication of the pyramid, pp. 75-76. 


in the front of the temple, with whose masonry it engaged. 
The lower end of the causeway was adorned with a sump- 
tuous colonnaded entrance, a monumental portal, which 
served as a town or residence temple of the pyramid and 
was probably within the walls of the royal residence city 
below. These temples were of course the home of the 
mortuary ritual maintained on behalf of the king, and were 
analogous in origin to the chapel of the noble's tomb 
already discussed (p. 62). The whole group or com- 
plex, consisting of pyramid, temple, causeway, and town 
temple below, forms the most imposing architectural con- 
ception of this early age and its surviving remains have 
contributed in the last few years an entirely new. chapter 
in the history of architecture. They mark the culmina- 
tion of the development of the material equipment of the 

Each Pharaoh of the Third and Fourth Dynasties spent 
a large share of his available resources in erecting this vast 
tomb, which was to receive his body and insure its pres- 
ervation after death. It. became the chief object of the 
state and its organization thus to insure the king's sur- 
vival in the hereafter. More than once the king failed to 
complete the enormous complex before death, and was 
thus thrown upon the piety of his successors, who had all 
they could do to complete their own tombs. When com- 
pleted the temple and the pyramid were dedicated by the 
royal priests with elaborate formulas for their protection. 
The building was addressed and adjured not to admit 
Osiris or the divinities of his cycle, when they came, " with 
an evil coming," that is of course with evil designs upon 
the building. On the other hand, the building was charged 
to receive hospitably the dead king at his coming. The 
priest addressing the building said: "When this king 


Pepi, together with his ka, comes, open thou thy arms to 
him." At the same time Horus is supposed to say: 
"Offer this pyramid and this temple to king Pepi and to 
his ka. That which this pyramid and this temple contain 
belongs to king Pepi and to his ka." l Besides this the 
buildings were protected by doors with boukrania upon or 
over them, and "sealed with two evil eyes," and the great 
hall being "purer than the sky," the place was thus in- 
violable 2 even by the mortuary patron god Osiris if he 
should come with malicious intent. 

Similarly the pyramid and temple were protected from 
decay for all time. When the dead king appears in the 
hereafter he is at once hailed with greetings by Atum, the 
ancient Sun-god; Atum then summons the gods: "Ho, 
all ye gods, come, gather together; come, unite as ye 
gathered together and united for Atum in Heliopolis, that 
he might hail you. Come ye, do ye everything which is 
good for king Pepi II for ever and ever." Atum then 
promises generous offerings "for all gods who shall cause 
every good thing to be king Pepi IPs; who shall cause to 
endure this pyramid and this building like that where 
king Pepi II loved to be for ever and ever. All gods who 
shall cause to be good and enduring this pyramid and this 
building of king Pepi II they shall be equipped (or pre- 
pared), they shall be honored, they shall become souls, 
they shall become mighty; to them shall be given royal 
mortuary offerings, they shall receive divine offerings; 
to them shall joints be presented, to them shall oblations 
be made." 3 

Again the priest addresses the Sun-god under his earliest 
name, Atum, and recalls the time when the god sat high 
on the sacred ben, the pyramidal symbol at Heliopolis, 

1 Pyr. §§ 1276-7. 2 Pyr. § 1266. 3 Pyr. Ut. 599. 


and created the other gods. This then is a special reason 
why he should preserve the pyramid of the king forever. 
"Thou wast lofty," says the priest, "on the height; thou 
didst shine as Phoenix of the ben in the Phcenix-hall in 
Heliopolis. That which thou didst spew out was Shu; 
that which thou didst spit out was Tefnut (his first two 
children). Thou didst put thy arms behind them as a 
ka-arm, that thy ka might be in them. O Atum, put thou 
thy arms behind king Meniere, behind this building, and be- 
hind this pyramid, as a ka-arm, that the ka of king Mernere 
may be in it enduring for ever and ever. Ho, Atum! 
Protect thou this king Mernere, this his pyramid and this 
building of king Mernere." x The priest then commends 
the pyramid to the whole Ennead, and finally proceeds to 
another long Utterance, which takes up the names of all 
the gods of the Ennead one after the other, affirming that, 
"as the name of the god so-and-so is firm, so is firm the 
name of king Mernere; so are firm this his pyramid and 
this his building likewise for ever and ever." 2 

Resting beneath the pyramid, the king's wants were 
elaborately met by a sumptuous and magnificent ritual 
performed on his behalf in the temple before his tomb. 
Of this ritual we know nothing except such portions of it 
as have been preserved in the Pyramid Texts. These 
show that the usual calendar of feasts of the living was 
celebrated for the king, 3 though naturally on a more splen- 
did scale. Evidently the observances consisted chiefly in 
the presentation of plentiful food, clothing, and the like. 
One hundred and seventy-eight formulae or utterances, 
forming about one-twentieth of the bulk of the Pyramid 
Texts, 4 contain the words spoken by the royal mortuary 

1 Pyr. Ut. 600. 2 Pyr. Ut. 601. 

spyr. §2117. 4 Ut. 26-203. 


priests in offering food, drink, clothing, ointment, perfume, 
and incense, revealing the endless variety and splendid 
luxury of the king's table, toilet, and wardrobe in the 
hereafter. The magnificent vases discovered by Bor- 
chardt at Abusir in the pyramid-temple of Neferirkere 
(twenty-eighth century B. C.) are a further hint of the 
royal splendor with which this ritual of offerings was 
maintained, while the beauty and grandeur of the pyramid- 
temples themselves furnished an incomparable setting 
within which all this mortuary magnificence was main- 

All this system of mortuary maintenance early came 
under the complete domination of the Osirian faith, 
though the very tomb at which it was enacted was a 
symbol of the Sun-god. Osiris had died not in the dis- 
tant sky like Re, but on earth as men die. The human 
aspects of his life and death led to the early adoption of 
the incidents in his story as those which took place in the 
life and death of every one. Horus had offered to his 
father the eye which Set had wrenched out, and this evi- 
dence of the son's self-sacrifice for the father's sake had 
made Osiris a "soul," and proven of incalculable blessing. 
The "Horus-eye" became the primal type of all offerings, 
especially those offered to the dead, Osiris having been 
dead when he received the eye. Thus every offering 
presented to the king in the ritual of the pyramids was 
called the " Horus-eye," no matter what the character of 
the offering might be. In presenting linen garments the 
priest addressed the dead king thus: "Ho! This king 
Pepi! Arise thou, put on thee the Horus-eye, receive it 
upon thee, lay it to thy flesh; that thou mayest go forth 
in it, and the gods may see thee clothed in it. . . . The 
Horus-eye is brought to thee, it removes not from thee 


for ever and ever." 1 Again in offering ointment the 
priest assuming the office of Horus says: "Horus comes 
filled with ointment. He has embraced his father Osiris. 
He found him (lying) upon his side in Gehesti. Osiris 
filled himself with the eye of him whom he begat. Ho! 
This king Pepi II ! I come to thee steadfast, that I may 
fill thee with the ointment that came forth from the 
Horus-eye. Fill thyself therewith. It will join thy bones, 
it will unite thy members, it will join to thee thy flesh, it 
will dissolve thy evil sweat to the earth. Take its odor 
upon thee that thy odor may be sweet like (that of) Re, 
when he rises in the horizon, and the horizon-gods delight 
in him. Ho ! This king Pepi II ! The odor of the Horus- 
eye is on thee; the gods who follow Osiris delight in thee." 2 
The individual formulae in the long offering-ritual are 
very brief. The prevailing form of offering is simply: 
" O king X ! Handed to thee is the Horus-eye which was 
wrested from Set, rescued for thee, that thy mouth might 
be filled with it. Wine, a white jar." 3 The last words 
prescribe the offering which the formula accompanies. 
Similarly the method of offering or the accompanying acts 
may be appended to the actual words employed by the 
priest. Thus through the lengthy ritual of six or eight 
score such utterances, besides some others scattered 
through the Pyramid Texts, the priest lays before the 
dead king those creature comforts which he had enjoyed 
in the flesh. 4 In doing so he entered the mysterious 

1 Pyr. Ut. 453. 2 Pyr. Ut. 637. 3 Pyr. Ut. 54. 

4 The ritual of offerings, properly so called, in the Pyramid Texts, 
begins at Ut. 26 and continues to Ut. 203. This ritual as a whole has 
received an Osirian editing and only Ut. 44 and 50 are clearly Solar. 
Each Spruch, or Utterance, contains the words to be used by the 
priest, with some designation of the offering, sometimes no more than 
the words "Horus-eye. " Not infrequently directions as to the place 


chamber behind the temple court, where he stepped into 
the presence of the pyramid itself, beneath which the king 
lay. Before the priest rose the great false door through 
which the spirit of the king might re-enter the temple from 
his sepulchre far beneath the mountain of masonry now 
towering above it. Standing before the false door the 
priest addressed the king as if present and presented a vast 
array of the richest gifts, accompanying each with the pre- 
cribed formula of presentation which we have already dis- 
cussed. But the insistent fact of death cannot be ignored 
even in these utterances which exist solely because the dead 
is believed to live and feels the needs of the living. In the 
silent chamber the priest feels the unresponsiveness of the 
royal dead yonder far beneath the mountainous pyramid, 
and hence from time to time calls upon him to rise from 
his sleep and behold the food and the gifts spread out for 
him. In order that none of these may be omitted, the 
priest summarizes them all in the promise to the king: 
"Given to thee are all offerings, all oblations, (even) thy 
desire, and that by which it is well for thee with the god 
forever." 1 Added to all this elaborate ritual of gifts 
there were also charms potent to banish hunger from the 
vitals of the king, and these, too, the priest from time to 
time recited for the Pharaoh's benefit. 2 
The kings of the early Pyramid Age in the thirtieth cen- 

where the offering is to be put accompany the formula, with mem- 
oranda also of the quantity and the like. A little group of prayers 
and charms (Ut. 204^212) follows the offering-ritual. This group 
also concerns offerings, but it is all Solar except the first and last 
utterance. The other texts concerning material needs scattered 
through the Pyramid Texts, conceive the king as dwelling no longer 
in the tomb in most cases (e. g., Ut. 413). There is a group of twelve 
Utterances on food (Ut. 338-349), and a larger group concerned 
chiefly with the physical necessities (Ut. 401-426). 
i Pyr. §§ 101 c, d, *Pyr. §204. 


tury B. C. evidently looked confidently forward to indefi- 
nite life hereafter maintained in this way. In a lament 
for the departed Pharaoh, which the priest as Horus re- 
cited, Horus says : " Ho ! king Pepi ! I have wept for thee ! 
I have mourned for thee. I forget thee not, my heart is 
not weary to give to thee mortuary offerings every day, at 
the (feast of the) month, at the (feast of the) half-month, 
at the (feast of) ' Putting-do wn-the-Lamp/ at the (feast 
of) Thoth, at the (feast of) Wag, at the period of thy 
years and thy months which thou livest as a god." 1 
But would the posterity of an Oriental sovereign never 
weary in giving him mortuary offerings every day? We 
shall see. 

Such maintenance required a considerable body of 
priests in constant service at the pyramid-temple, though 
no list of a royal pyramid priesthood has survived to us. 
They were supported by liberal endowments, for which 
the power of the royal house might secure respect for a 
long time. The priesthood and the endowment of the 
pyramid of Snefru at Dahshur (thirtieth century B. C.) 
were respected and declared exempt from all state dues 
and levies by a royal decree issued by Pepi II of the Sixth 
Dynasty, three hundred years after Snefru's death. 
Moreover, there had been three changes of dynasty since 
the decease of Snefru. But such endowments, accumulat- 
ing as they did from generation to generation, must in- 
evitably break down at last. In the thirtieth century 
B. C, Snefru himself had given to one of his nobles "one 
hundred loaves every day from the mortuary temple of 
the mother of the king's children, Nemaathap. " 2 This 
queen had died at the close of the Second Dynasty, some 

1 Pyr. §§ 2117-18, restored from Pap. Schmitt. 

2 BAR, I, 173. 


two generations earlier. Snefru, while he may not have 
violated her mortuary income, at least disposed of it after 
it had served its purpose at her tomb, in rewarding his 
partisans. In the same way Sahure, desiring to reward 
Persen, one of his favorite nobles, finds no other resources 
available and diverts to Persen's tomb an income of loaves 
and oil formerly paid to the queen Neferhotepes every 
day. 1 There is in these acts of Snefru and Sahure a hint 
of one possible means of meeting the dilemma as the num- 
ber of tomb endowments increased, viz., by supplying one 
tomb with food-offerings which had already served in an- 
other. Even so the increasing number of royal tombs 
made it more and more difficult as a mere matter of man- 
agement and administration to maintain them. Hence 
even the priests of Sahure's pyramid in the middle of the 
twenty-eighth century B. C, unable properly to protect 
the king's pyramid-temple, found it much cheaper and 
more convenient to wall up all the side entrances and leave 
only the causeway as the entrance to the temple. They 
seem to have regarded this as a pious work, for they left 
the name of the particular phyle of priests who did it, on 
the masonry of the doorways which they thus closed up. 2 
After this the accidentally acquired sanctity of a figure 
of the goddess Sekhmet in the temple, a figure which en- 
joyed the local reverence and worship of the surrounding 
villages, and continued in their favor for centuries, re- 
sulted in the preservation of a large portion of the temple 
which otherwise would long before have fallen into ruin. 
Sahure's successor, Neferirkere, fared much worse. A few 
years after his death a successor of the same dynasty 
(Nuserre) broke away the causeway leading up to the 

iBAR, 1,241. 

2 Borchardt, Das Grabdenkmal des Koenigs Sahure, pp. 94 ff. 


pyramid-temple that he might divert it to his own temple 
near by. The result was that the mortuary priests of 
Neferirkere, unable longer to live in the valley below, 
moved up to the plateau, where they grouped their sun- 
dried brick dwellings around and against the facade of the 
temple where they ministered. As their income dwindled 
these dwellings became more and more like hovels, they 
finally invaded the temple court and chambers, and the 
priests, by this time in a state of want, fairly took posses- 
sion of the temple as a priestly quarter. Left at last with- 
out support, their own tumble-down hovels were forsaken 
and the ruins mingled with those of the temple itself. When 
the Middle Kingdom opened, six hundred years after Ne- 
ferirkere's death, the temple was several metres deep under 
the accumulation of rubbish, and the mounds over it were 
used as a burial ground, where the excavations disclosed 
burials a metre or two above the pavement of the temple. 
The great Fourth Dynasty cemetery at Gizeh experienced 
the same fate. The mortuary priests whose ancestors had 
once administered the sumptuous endowments of the 
greatest of all pyramids, pushed their intrusive burials 
into the streets and areas between the old royal tombs of 
the extinct line, where they too ceased about 2500 B. C, 
four hundred years after Khufu laid out the Gizeh ceme- 
tery. Not long after 2500 B. C, indeed the whole sixty- 
mile line of Old Kingdom pyramids from Medum on the 
south to Gizeh on the north had become a desert solitude. 1 
This melancholy condition is discernible also in the reflec- 
tions of the thoughtful in the Feudal Age five hundred 
years later as they contemplated the wreck of these 
massive tombs. (See pp. 181-4.) 

What was so obvious centuries after the great Pharaohs 
1 Confer Reisner, Boston Mus. of Fine Arts Bulletin, IX, 16. 


of the Pyramid Age had passed away was already dis- 
cernible long before the Old Kingdom fell. The pyramids 
represent the culmination of the belief in material equip- 
ment as completely efficacious in securing felicity for the 
dead. The great pyramids of Gizeh represent the effort 
of titanic energies absorbing all the resources of a great 
state as they converged upon one supreme endeavor to 
sheath eternally the body of a single man, the head of the 
state, in a husk of masonry so colossal that by these 
purely material means the royal body might defy all time 
and by sheer force of mechanical supremacy make con- 
quest of immortality. The decline of such vast pyramids 
as those of the Fourth Dynasty at Gizeh, and the final 
insertion of the Pyramid Texts in the pyramids beginning 
with the last king of the Fifth Dynasty about 2625 B. C, 
puts the emphasis on well-being elsewhere, a belief in 
felicity in some distant place not so entirely dependent 
upon material means, and recognizes in some degree the 
fact that piles of masonry cannot confer that immortality 
which a man must win in his own soul. 

The Pyramid Texts as a whole furnish us the oldest 
chapter in human thinking preserved to us, the remotest 
reach in the intellectual history of man which we are now 
able to discern. It had always been supposed that the 
pyramids were all without inscription, until the native 
workmen employed by Mariette at Sakkara in 1880, the 
year before his death, penetrated the pyramid of Pepi I, and 
later that of Mernere. For the first edition of the Pyra- 
mid Texts we are indebted to Maspero, who displayed 
great penetration in discerning the general character of 
these texts, which he published during the next ten years. 
Nevertheless, it has been only since the appearance of 
Sethe's great edition in 1910 that it has been possible to 


undertake the systematic study of these remarkable docu- 
ments. 1 

Written in hieroglyphic they occupy the walls of the 
passages, galleries, and chambers in five of the pyramids 
of Sakkara: the earliest, that of Unis, belonging at the 
end of the Fifth Dynasty in the latter half of the twenty- 
seventh century B. C, and the remaining four, those of 
the leading kings of the Sixth Dynasty, Teti, Pepi I, 
Mernere, and Pepi II, the last of whom died early in the 
twenty-fifth century B. C. They thus represent a period 
of about one hundred and fifty years from the vicinity of 
g625 to possibly 2475 B . C, that is the whole of the twenty- 
sixth century and possibly a quarter of a century before 
and after it. 

It is evident, however, that they contain material much 
older than this, the age of the copies which have come 
down to us. The five copies themselves refer to material 
then in existence which has not survived. We read in 
them of "the Chapter of Those Who Ascend," and the 
"Chapter of Those Who Raise Themselves Up," which 
purport to have been used on the occasion of various in- 
cidents in the myths. 2 They were thus regarded as older 
than our Pyramid Texts. Such older material, therefore, 
existed, whether we possess any of it or not. We find 
conditions of civilization also in the Pyramid Texts which 
were far older than the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties. In 

1 Maspero's edition appeared in his journal, the Recueil, in vol- 
umes 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14; it later appeared in a 
single volume. Sethe's edition of the hieroglyphic text in two vol- 
umes (Die Altaegyptischen Pyramidentexte von Kurt Sethe, Leipzig, 
1908-10) will be accompanied by further volumes containing trans- 
lation and discussion of the texts, and with palaeographic material 
by H. Schaefer. 

2 Pyr. §1245; see also § 1251. 


summoning the dead to rise he is bidden: "Throw off the 
sand from thy face," 1 or "Remove thy earth." 2 Such 
passages as these must have arisen in a time when the 
king was buried in a primitive grave scooped out of the 
desert sand. Similarly when the king's tomb is opened 
for him that he may rise he is assured: "The brick are 
drawn for thee out of the great tomb," 3 a passage which 
must have come into use when the kings used brick tombs 
like those at Abydos in the First and Second Dynasties. 
Like the sand grave or the brick tomb, is the common 
representation of the king crossing the celestial waters on 
the two reed floats, used by the peasants of Nubia to this 

Parallel with these hints in the conditions of civiliza- 
tion are others referring to the political conditions, which 
plainly place some of the Pyramid Texts in the days be- 
fore the rise of the dynasties, in the age when South and 
North were warring together for supremacy, that is before 
3400 B. C. We find a sycomore-goddess addressed thus: 
"Thou hast placed the terror of thee in the heart of the 
kings of Lower Egypt, dwelling in Buto " (the capital of the 
prehistoric Delta kingdom), 4 a passage evidently written 
from the point of view of the South in hostility toward the 
North. We read of Horus " who smote the Red Crowns " ; 5 
again "the White (southern) Crown comes forth, it has 
devoured the Great (northern) Crown;" 6 or "the horizon 
burns incense to Horus of Nekhen (capital of the South), 
... the flood of its flame is against you, ye wearers of the 
Great (northern) Crown." 7 It is said of the king that 

1 Pyr. § 1878 b. 2 Pyr. § 747, same in § 1732. 3 Pyr. § 572. 

4 Pyr. § 1488; this passage was first remarked by Sethe as showing 

the early date of the document, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 38, 64. 

6 Pyr. § 2037. 6 Pyr. § 239. 7 Pyr. § 295. 


"he has eaten the Red (crown), he has swallowed the 
Green " (Buto goddess of the North) ; l and in the hereafter 
he is crowned with the White (southern) Crown. 2 There 
too he receives the southern (Upper Egyptian) district of 
the blessed Field of Rushes, 3 and he descends to the south- 
ern district of the Field of Offerings. 4 As priest of Re in 
the hereafter the king has a libation jar " which purifies the 
Southland." 5 Finally, "it is king Unis who binds with 
lilies the papyrus (the two flowers of North and South) ; it 
is king Unis who reconciles the Two Lands; it is king Unis 
who unites the Two Lands. " 6 It is evident therefore that 
the Pyramid Texts contain passages which date from before 
the union of the Two Lands, that is before the thirty-fourth 
century B. C; and also others which belong to the early 
days of the union when the hostilities had not yet ceased, 
but the kings of the South were nevertheless maintaining 
control of the North and preserving the united kingdom. 
All these are written from the southern point of view. It 
should not be forgotten also that some of them were com- 
posed as late as the Old Kingdom itself, like the formulae 
intended to protect the pyramid, 7 which of course are not 
earlier than the rise of the pyramid-form in the thirtieth 
century B. C. Within the period of a century and a half 
covered by our five copies also, differences are noticeable. 
Evidences of editing in the later copies, which, however, are 
not found in the earlier copies, are clearly discernible. The 
processes of thought and the development of custom and 
belief which brought them forth were going on until the 
last copy was produced in the early twenty-fifth century 
B. C. They therefore represent a period of at least a 

1 Pyr. § 410. 2 Pyr. Ut. 524. 3 Pyr. § 1084. 

4 Pyr. § 1087. 5 Pyr. § 1179. 6 Pyr. § 388. 

7 Pyr. Ut. 599-600; see infra, pp. 75-76. 


thousand years, and a thousand years, it should not be 
forgotten, which was ended some four thousand five hun- 
dred years ago. Such a great mass of documents as this 
from the early world exists nowhere else and forms a 
storehouse of experience from the life of ancient man which 
largely remains to be explored. 

While their especial function may be broadly stated to 
be to insure the king felicity in the hereafter, they constantly 
reflect, as all literature does, the ebb and flow of the life 
around them, and they speak in terms of the experience of 
the men who produced them, terms current in the daily life 
of palace, street, and bazaar, or again terms which were 
born in the sacred solitude of the inner temple. To one of 
quick imagination they abound in pictures from that long- 
vanished world of which they are the reflection. While 
they are concerned chiefly with the fortunes of the king, 
these do not shut out the world around. Of the happiness 
of the king beyond the grave it is said: "This that thou 
hast heard in the houses and learned in the streets on this 
day when king Pepi was summoned to life. ^' x Of this 
life in the houses and on the streets of five thousand years 
ago we catch fleeting glimpses: the swallows twittering 
on the wall, 2 the herdman wading the canal immersed to 
his middle and bearing across the helpless young of his 
flock, 3 the crooning of the mother to her nursing child at 
twilight, 4 "the hawk seen in the evening traversing the 
sky," 5 the wild goose withdrawing her foot and escaping 
the hand of the baffled fowler in the marsh, 6 the passenger 
at the ferry with nothing to offer the boatmen for a seat 
in the crowded ferry-boat, but who is allowed to embark 
and work his passage wearily bailing the leaky craft; 7 

1 Pyr. § 1189. 2 Pyr. § 1216. 3 Pyr. § 1348. 4 Pyr. § 912. 
* Pyr. § 1048. 6 Pyr. § 1484. 7 Pyr. § 335. 


the noble sitting by the pool in his garden beneath the 
shade of the reed booth; x these pictures and many others 
are alive with the life of the Nile-dweller's world. The 
life of the palace is more fully and picturesquely reflected 
than that of the world outside and around it. We see 
the king in hours heavy with cares of state, his secretary 
at his side with writing kit and two pens, one for black and 
the other for the red of the rubrics; 2 again we discern him 
in moments of relaxation leaning familiarly on the shoul- 
der of a trusted friend and counsellor, 3 or the two bathe 
together in the palace pool and royal chamberlains ap- 
proach and dry their limbs. 4 Often we meet him heading a 
brilliant pageant as he passes through the streets of the 
residence with outrunners and heralds and messengers 
clearing the way before him; 5 when he ferries over to the 
other shore and steps out of the glittering royal barge, we 
see the populace throwing off their sandals, and then even 
their garments, as they dance in transports of joy at his 
coming; 6 again we find him surrounded by the pomp and 
splendor of his court at the palace gate, or seated on his 
gorgeous throne, adorned with lions' heads and bulls' 
feet. 7 In the palace-hall "he sits upon his marvellous 
throne, his marvellous sceptre in his hand; he lifts his 
hand toward the children of their father and they rise be- 
fore this king Pepi; he drops his hand toward them and 
they sit down (again)." 8 To be sure these are depicted as 
incidents of the life beyond the grave, but the subject- 
matter and the colors with which it is portrayed are drawn 
from the life here and the experience here. It is the gods 
who cast off their sandals and their raiment to dance for 
joy at the arrival of the king, as he crosses the heavenly 

1 Pyr. § 130. 2 Pyr. § 954. ' Pyr. § 730. 4 Pyr. Ut. 323. 

B Pyr., passim. 6 Pyr. § 1197. 7 Pyr. § 1123. 8 Pyr. § 1563. 


Nile; but they of course are depicted as doing that which 
the Pharaoh's subjects were accustomed to do along the 
earthly Nile. It is the gods who dry the Pharaoh's limbs 
as he bathes with the Sun-god in the "lake of rushes," but 
here too the gods do for the Pharaoh what his earthly 
chamberlains had been wont to do for him. 

But notwithstanding the fact that these archaic texts 
are saturated with the life out of which they have come, 
they form together almost a terra incognita. As one en- 
deavors to penetrate it, his feeling is like that of entering a 
vast primeval forest, a twilight jungle filled with strange 
forms and elusive shadows peopling a wilderness through 
which there is no path. An archaic orthography veils and 
obscures words with which the reader may be quite famil- 
iar in their later and habitual garb. They serve too in sit- 
uations and with meanings as strange to the reader as 
their spelling. Besides these disguised friends, there is a 
host of utter strangers, a great company of archaic words 
which have lived a long and active life in a world now 
completely lost and forgotten. Hoary with age they totter 
into sight for a brief period, barely surviving in these an- 
cient texts, then to disappear forever, and hence are never 
met with again. They vaguely disclose to us a vanished 
world of thought and speech, the last of the unnumbered 
aeons through which prehistoric man has passed till he 
finally comes within hailing distance of us as he enters 
the historic age. But these hoary strangers, survivors of 
a forgotten age, still serving on for a generation or two in 
the Pyramid Texts, often remain strangers until they dis- 
appear; we have no means of making their acquaintance 
or forcing them to reveal to us their names or the message 
which they bear, and no art of lexicography can force 
them all to yield up their secrets. Combined with these 


words, too, there is a deal of difficult construction, much 
enhanced by the obscure, dark, and elusive nature of the 
content of these archaic documents; abounding in allu- 
sions to incidents in lost myths, to customs and usages 
long since ended, they are built up out of a fabric of life, 
thought, and experience largely unfamiliar or entirely un- 
known to us. 

We have said that their function is essentially to insure 
the king's felicity in the hereafter. The chief and domi- 
nant note throughout is insistent, even passionate, protest 
against death. They may be said to be the record of 
humanity's earliest supreme revolt against the great 
darkness and silence from which none returns. The 
word death never occurs in the Pyramid Texts except in 
the negative or applied to a foe. Over and over again 
we hear the indomitable assurance that the dead lives. 
"King Teti has not died the death, he has become a 
glorious one in the horizon"; l "Ho! King Unis! Thou 
didst not depart dead, thou didst depart living"; 2 "Thou 
hast departed that thou mightest live, thou hast not de- 
parted that thou mightest die"; 3 "Thou diest not"; 4 
" This king Pepi dies not " ; 5 " King Pepi dies not by reason 
of any king . . . (nor) by reason of any dead"; 6 "Have 
ye said that he would die? He dies not; this king Pepi 
lives forever"; 7 "Live! Thou shalt not die"; 8 "If thou 
landest (euphemism for "diest"), thou livest (again)"; 9 
"This king Pepi has escaped his day of death"; l0 — such 
is the constant refrain of these texts. Not infrequently 
the utterance concludes with the assurance: "Thou livest, 
thou livest, raise thee up"; ll or "Thou diest not, stand up, 

1 Pyr. § 350. 

2 Pyr. § 134. * Pyr> § 833 4 Pyr< § 775> 

5 Pyr. § 1464 c. 

6 Pyr. § 1468 c-d. 7 Pyr. § 1477 b. 8 Pyr. § 2201 c. 

9 Pyr. § 1975 b. 

10 Pyr. § 1453 a-h. " Pyr. § 1262. 


raise thee up"; l or "Raise thee up, O this king Pepi, thou 
diest not"; 2 or an appendix is added as a new utterance 
by itself : " O lofty one among the Imperishable Stars, thou 
perishest not eternally." 3 When the inexorable fact 
must be referred to, death is called the "landing" or the 
"mooring" as we have seen it above, 4 or its opposite is 
preferred, and it is better to mention "not living" than 
to utter the fatal word; 5 or with wistful reminiscence of 
lost felicity once enjoyed by men, these ancient texts re- 
call the blessed age "before death came forth." 6 

While the supreme subject of the Pyramid Texts is life, 
eternal life for the king, they are a compilation from the 
most varied sources. Every possible agency and influ- 
ence was brought to bear to attain the end in view, and 
all classes of ancient lore deemed efficacious or found avail- 
able for this purpose were employed by the priests who 
put together this earliest surviving body of literature. 
Speaking chronologically, there are strata here represent- 
ing the different centuries for a thousand years or more as 
we have seen; but speaking in terms of subject-matter, 
we must change the figure and regard the Pyramid Texts 
as a fabric into which the most varied strands have been 
woven. Whether we make a vertical or a horizontal sec- 
tion, whether we cut across the fabric transversely or 
longitudinally these varied elements are exposed and con- 
trasted. Cutting transversely we discover the varied 
constituents side by side, the strands of the warp running 
in most cases from end to end of the fabric; whereas when 
we cut longitudinally we disclose the changes due to time 
as the woof is wrought into the fabric. We shall make 
the transverse cut first and ascertain the character of the 

1 Pyr. § 867. 2 Pyr. § 875. 3 Pyr. Ut. 464. 

* See also Pyr. § 1090. 6 Pyr. § 1335. • Pyr. § 1466 d. 


constituent strands, without reference to the time ele- 
ment. Our question is, what is the content of the Pyramid 

It may be said to be in the main sixfold : 

1. A funerary ritual and a ritual of mortuary offerings 
at the tomb. 

2. Magical charms. 

3. Very ancient ritual of worship. 

4. Ancient religious hymns. 

5. Fragments of old myths. 

6. Prayers and petitions on behalf of the dead king. 
There is of course some miscellaneous matter and some 

which falls under several of the above classes at once. 
Taking up these six classes we find that the priestly 
editors have arranged their materials in sections often of 
some length, each section headed by the words: "Utter 
(or Recite) the words." Each such section has been called 
by Sethe in his edition a "Spruch," and we call them 
"Utterances." Of these the first of the five pyramids, 
that of Unis, contains two hundred and twenty-eight, 
while the others contain enough additional "Utterances" 
to make up a total of seven hundred and fourteen. In their 
modern published form, including the variants, they fill 
two quarto volumes containing together over a thousand 
pages of text. 1 

With the exception of the funerary and offering ritual, 
which is at the head of the collection, and with which we 
have already dealt in the preceding lectures, the material 
was arranged by the successive editors almost at hap- 
hazard. If such an editor had the materials before him 
in groups he made no effort to put together groups of like 
content, but he copied as he happened to come upon his 
1 Exactly 1051. 


sources. He must have had before him a series of ancient 
books, each containing a number of groups of Utterances 
falling into all six of the above classes, but he copied each 
book from beginning to end before he took up the next one. 
Thus it is that we find groups of charms, or prayers, or 
hymns devoted to the same subject embedded in various 
places widely separated, or distributed throughout the 
entire collection, without any attempt to bring them 

There can be no doubt that a considerable portion of 
the Pyramid Texts were intended to be employed as 
charms. Some of these were used by the mortuary priest 
at the interment; others were wielded by the deceased 
himself in self-defence. "King Pepi is a magician, King 
Pepi is one who is possessed of magic," 1 say the texts. 
The dead are called "the glorious by reason of (or 'by 
means of) their equipped mouths," 2 meaning that their 
mouths are equipped with the charms, prayers, and ritual 
of the Pyramid Texts. It is evident that the dead king 
was supposed to employ magic power, and the agency of 
this power was the Pyramid Texts themselves. They are 
sometimes unequivocally called magical charms. "This 
charm that is in the belly of king Pepi is on him when he 
ascends and lifts himself to the sky" affirms one passage, 3 
and the Utterance referred to is an accompanying list of 
the limbs of the king, which are thus protected. Again 
in a remarkable passage the ancient text insists: "It is 
not this king Pepi who says this against you, ye gods; it 
is the charm which says this against you, ye gods," 4 and 
"this" is the text of the accompanying Utterance. The 
possession of such charms was vitally important, so that 
a special charm was included to prevent the departed 

1 Pyr. § 924 b. 2 Pyr. § 930 a. 3 Pyr. § 1318 c. * Pyr. § 1324. 


Pharaoh from being deprived of his charm or his magical 
power. 1 

The distinction between a charm and a prayer in these 
texts is difficult for the reason that a text of a character 
originally in no way connected or identified with magical 
formula? may be employed as such. We find a Sun-hymn 2 
called a "charm" in the Pyramid Texts. Again the 
archaic hymn to Nut, 3 a fragment of ancient ritual, is 
later employed as a household charm. 4 The question is 
not infrequently one of function rather than one of con- 
tent. The serpent-charms are distinguishable as such in 
the Pyramid Texts at the first glance in most cases; but 
the question whether a hymn or a prayer may not be de- 
signed to serve as a charm is sometimes not easily decided. 
The question is an important one, because some have 
averred that the whole body of Pyramid Texts is simply 
a collection of magical charms, and that therefore the 
repetition of any Utterance was supposed to exert magical 
power. Such a sweeping statement cannot be demon- 
strated. An ancient hymn supposed to be repeated by 
the dead king, when it is accompanied by no express 
statement that it is a charm, may have served the same 
function with regard to the god to whom it is addressed, 
which it served in the ancient ritual from which it was 
taken; and because some such hymns have been inserted 
in charms is no sufficient reason for concluding that all 
such hymns in the Pyramid Texts are necessarily charms. 
The Pyramid Texts themselves are one of the most im- 
portant documents in which we may observe the gradual 
invasion of mortuary religious beliefs by the power of 
magic, but when the last of the Pyramid Texts was edited 

1 Pyr. Ut. 678. 2 Pyr. Ut. 456. 3 Pyr. Ut. 429-435. 

4 Erman, Zauberspr. fur Mutter und Kind, 5, 8-6, 8. 


in the twenty-fifth century B. C. the triumph of magic in 
the realm of such beliefs was still a thousand years away. 

Besides the funerary and offering ritual employed at the 
tomb, and besides the charms unquestionably present, 
there is then a large residuum of ancient religious litera- 
ture, consisting of ritual of worship, religious hymns, frag- 
ments of old myths, and finally prayers on behalf of the 
dead (Nos 3, 4, 5, and 6, above). An Osirian Utterance 
in the Pyramid Texts 1 occurs over a thousand years 
later as part of the ritual at Abydos on the wall of the 
Atum chapel in the Seti temple of Osiris. There can be 
little doubt that it was temple ritual also in the Pyramid 
Age. It is not unlikely that the religious hymns embedded 
in this compilation, like the impressive Sun-hymn in 
Utterance 456, 2 or the archaic hymn to the Sky-goddess, 3 
or the hymn to Osiris as Nile, 4 also belonged to temple 
rituals. In this case they fall in the same class with tem- 
ple ritual and should not be made a class by themselves. 
In so far as the fragments of the old myths fall into poetic 
form they too are not distinguishable from the religious 
hymns. These fragments in most cases recite current in- 
cidents in which some god enjoys some benefit or passes 
through some desirable experience or attains some tri- 
umph, and the same good fortune is now desired for the 
deceased king. Many of them, as we have already seen, 
relate to matters which unhappily are unintelligible with- 
out a full knowledge of the myth from which they are 

While the content of the Pyramid Texts may be thus in- 
dicated in a general way, a precise and full analysis is a far 
more difficult matter. The form of the literature contained 

1 Pyr. Ut. 637. 2 See above, pp. 13-14. 

3 Pyr. Ut. 427-435. 4 Pyr. Ut. 581. 


, is happily more easily disposed of. Among the oldest 
literary fragments in the collection are the religious hymns, 
and these exhibit an early poetic form, that of couplets 
displaying parallelism in arrangement of words and 
thought — the form which is familiar to all in the Hebrew 
psalms as "parallelism of members." It is carried back 
by its employment in the Pyramid Texts into the fourth 
millennium B. C, by far earlier than its appearance any- 
where else. It is indeed the oldest of all literary forms 
known to us. Its use is not confined to the hymns men- 
tioned, but appears also in other portions of the Pyramid 
Texts, where it is, however, not usually so highly devel- 

Besides this form, which strengthens the claim of these 
fragments to be regarded as literature in our sense of the 
term, there is here and there, though not frequently, some 
display of literary quality in thought and language. 
There is, for example, a fine touch of imagination in one 
of the many descriptions of the resurrection of Osiris: 
"Loose thy bandages! They are not bandages, they are 
the locks of Nephthys," l the weeping goddess hanging 
over the body of her dead brother. The ancient priest 
who wrote the line sees in the bandages that swathe the 
silent form the heavy locks of the goddess which fall and 
mingle with them. There is an elemental power too in 
the daring imagination which discerns the sympathetic 
emotion of the whole universe as the dread catastrophe of 
the king's death and the uncanny power of his coming 
among the gods of the sky are realized by the elements. 
"The sky weeps for thee, the earth trembles for thee" say 
the ancient mourners for the king, 2 or when they see him 
in imagination ascending the vault of the sky they say: 

1 Pyr. § 1363. 2 Pyr. § 1365. 


" Clouds darken the sky, 
The stars rain down, 
The Bows (a constellation) stagger, 
The bones of the hell-hounds tremble, 
The fporters 1 are silent, 
When they see king Unis, 
Dawning as a soul." * 

A fundamental question which arises as one endeavors 
to interpret these ancient documents is that of the method 
of employment. How were they used? In all likeli- 
hood the entire collection was recited by the mortuary 
priests on the day of burial. The entire offering ritual 
(including in the different pyramids one hundred and 
seventy-eight "Utterances") was furthermore recited on 
all feast days, and probably also on all other days. The 
fact that each " Utterance " is headed by the words 
"recite the words" also indicates this manner of employ- 
ing them. A large proportion are personal equipment of 
the dead king to be recited by him as occasion demanded. 
This is shown by the curious fact that a number of long 
sections were in the first person originally, and were so 
engraved on the pyramid walls; but these passages were 
afterward altered to the third person, usually by the in- 
sertion of the king's name over the old personal pronoun. 
It is evident that many of the charms were designed for 
use by the dead, as when a Sun-hymn is accompanied by 
directions stating that the king is to employ it as a charm, 
which, if he knows it, will secure him the friendship of the 
Sun-god. 2 When the whole collection was recited by the 
priest he of course personified the king, in all passages 
where the king speaks in the first person, just as he per- 
sonified so many of the gods who are depicted speaking 
and acting in these texts; but the fact that a large body 

1 Pyr. § 393. 2 Pyr. Ut. 456. 


of texts address the dead king in the second person clearly 
shows that they were uttered by the priest or some one on 
the king's behalf. In one case the speaker is the living 
and still reigning king who offers eye-paint to his departed 
royal ancestor. 1 

On one other question in this connection there can be no 
doubt. These mortuary texts were all intended for the 
king's exclusive use, and as a whole contain beliefs which 
apply only to the king. 2 This is not to say, however, that 
some archaic texts in use among the people have not here 
and there crept into the collection. To these may possi- 
bly belong the addresses to the dead as if buried in the 
desert sand, or a few others like simple serpent charms, or 
passages according the king hereafter a destiny not strictly 
peculiar to him and one which ordinary mortals already 
believed attainable by them. It is a significant fact that 
the nobles of the age made practically no use of the Pyra- 
mid Texts in their own tombs. 

While the Pyramid Texts have not been able to shake 
off the old view of the sojourn at the tomb, they give it 
little thought, and deal almost entirely with a blessed life 
in a distant realm. Let it be stated clearly at the outset 
that this distant realm is the sky, and that the Pyramid 
Texts know practically nothing of the hereafter in the 
Nether World. Echoes of other archaic notions of the 
place of the dead have been preserved here and there. 

1 Pyr. Ut. 605. 

2 The presence of the word "mn" = "so and so" instead of the 
king's name (Pyr. § 147) does not necessarily indicate the use of the 
passage by any one, but simply shows that the priestly copyist, when 
first recording this text in his manuscript, did not know for what king 
it was to be employed. Then in copying it on the wall the draughts- 
man by oversight transferred the "so and so" from his manuscript 
to the wall, instead of changing it to the king's name. 


The oldest doubtless is contained in that designation of 
the dead which claims ignorance as to their whereabouts, 
and calls them "those whose places are hidden." 1 An- 
other ancient belief conceives the dead as somewhere in 
the distant "west," but this belief plays practically no 
part in the Pyramid Texts, and is discernible there only 
in an archaic title of the mortuary Anubis of Siut, who 
occasionally has appended to his name the words "First 
or Lord of the Westerners," 2 a designation which served 
as the name of an old mortuary god at Abydos, who was 
later identified with Osiris, and his name appropriated by 
him also occurs a number of times in the Pyramid Texts. 3 
But the "west" hardly attains even a subordinate role in 
the beliefs which dominate the Pyramid Texts. We hear 
of it once as a means of gaining access to the Sun-god: 
"These thy four ways which are before the tomb of Horus, 
wherein one goes to the (Sun-) god, as soon as the sun goes 
down. He (the Sun-god) grasps thy arm. . . ." 4 In 
one passage, too, the dead is adjured to go to the "west" in 
preference to the east, in order to join the Sun-god, but 
in this very passage he appears as one whose function was 
in the east. 5 An analogous passage affirms: "King Unis 
rests from life (dies) in the west, . . . King Unis dawns 
anew in the east." 6 The west is mentioned casually, also 
along with the other celestial regions where the Sun-god 
in his course finds the translated Pharaoh. 7 It is the east 
which with constant reiteration is affirmed to be the most 
sacred of all regions, and that to which the dead king 

* Pyr. § 873 et at. 2 Pyr. §§ 745 a, 1833, 2198 b. 

3 E. g., §§ 650, 759. See infra, p. 38. 4 Pyr. § 1355. 

6 Pyr. §§ 1531-2; see also § 1703, where, by total inversion of the 
myth, the king is born in the west. Similarly in § 470 it is the western 
horn of the sky-bull that is removed for the passage of the dead. 

e Pyr. §306. ' Pyr. § 919. 


should fare. Indeed he is explicitly cautioned against the 
west: "Go not on those currents of the west; those who 
go thither, they return not (again)." 1 In the Pyramid 
Texts it may be fairly said that the old doctrine of the 
"west" as the permanent realm of the dead, a doctrine 
which is later so prominent, has been quite submerged by 
the pre-eminence of the east. 

This "east," therefore, is the east of the sky, and the 
realm of the dead is a celestial one, using the term with 
none of its frequent theological significance in English. 
Two ancient doctrines of this celestial hereafter have been 
commingled in the Pyramid Texts: one represents the 
dead as a star, and the other depicts him as associated 
with the Sun-god, or even becoming the Sun-god himself. 
It is evident that these two beliefs, which we may call the 
stellar and the Solar hereafter, were once in a measure in- 
dependent, and that both have then entered into the 
form of the celestial hereafter which is found in the 
Pyramid Texts. In the cloudless sky of Egypt it was a 
not unnatural fancy which led the ancient Nile-dweller 
to see in the splendor of the nightly heavens the host of 
those who had preceded him; thither they had flown as 
birds, rising above all foes of the air, 2 and there they now 
swept across the sky as eternal stars. 3 It is especially 
those stars which are called "the Imperishable Ones" in 
which the Egyptian saw the host of the dead. These are 
said to be in the north of the sky, 4 and the suggestion that 
the circumpolar stars, which never set or disappear, are 
the ones which are meant is a very probable one. 5 While 
there are Utterances in the Pyramid Texts which define 

1 Pyr. § 2175. 2 Pyr. § 1216. 

3 See the author's History of Egypt, p. 64. 4 Pyr. § 1080. 

6 Borchardt, in Erman, Handbiich der aegypt. Rel., p. 107. 


the stellar notion of the hereafter without any reference 
to the Solar faith, 1 and which have doubtless descended 
from a more ancient day when the stellar belief was in- 
dependent of the Solar, it is evident that the stellar notion 
has been absorbed in the Solar. There is a trace of the 
process in the endeavor to reconcile the northern station 
of the " Imperishables " with the "east" as the place of 
the dead in the Solar faith. We find provision made that 
the deceased king "may ferry over to Re, to the horizon 
. . . to his station on the east side of the sky, in its northern 
region among the Imperishable (Stars)." 2 Thus the stel- 
lar and the Solar elements were combined, though the 
Solar beliefs predominate so strongly that the Pyramid 
Texts as a whole and in the form in which they have 
reached us may be said to be of Solar origin. 

The Solar destiny was perhaps suggested by the daily 
disappearance and reappearance of the sun. We find the 
texts assuring us, " This king Pepi lives as lives he ( = the 
Sun-god) who has entered the west of the sky, when he 
rises in the east of the sky." 3 It should be noted that 
the place of living again is, however, the east, and it is 
not only the east, but explicitly the east of the sky. 
Death was on earth; life was to be had only in the sky. 

"Men fall, 
Their name is not. 
Seize thou king Teti by his arm, 
Take thou king Teti to the sky, 
That he die not on earth, 
Among men." 4 

This idea that life was in the sky is the dominant notion, 
far older than the Osirian faith in the Pyramid Texts. 

1 Pyr. Ut. 328, 329, 503. 2 Pyr. § 1000. 

8 Pyr. § 1469. 4 Pyr. § 604. 


So powerful was it that Osiris himself is necessarily ac- 
corded a celestial and a Solar hereafter in the secondary 
stage, in which his myth has entered the Pyramid Texts. 

The prospect of a glorious hereafter in the splendor of 
the Sun-god's presence is the great theme of the Pyramid 
Texts. Even the royal tomb, as we have seen, assumed 
the form of the Sun-god's most sacred symbol. The 
state theology, which saw in the king the bodily son and 
the earthly representative of Re, very naturally con- 
ceived him as journeying at death to sojourn forever with 
his father, or even to supplant his father, and be his suc- 
cessor in the sky as he had been on earth. The Solar 
hereafter is properly a royal destiny, possible solely to a 
Pharaoh; it is only later that ordinary mortals gradually 
assume the right to share it, though, as we shall see, this 
could be done only by assuming also the royal character 
of every such aspirant. 

Passing as the king did to a new kingdom in the sky, 
even though the various notions of his status there were 
hot consistent, he was called upon to undergo a purifica- 
tion, which is prescribed and affirmed in the texts with 
wearisome reiteration. It may take place after the 
king's arrival in the sky, but more often it follows directly 
upon his resuscitation from the sleep of death. It may 
be accomplished by libations or by bathing in the sacred 
lake in the blessed fields, with the gods even officiating at 
the royal bath with towels and raiment, or by the fumes 
of incense which penetrate the limbs of the royal dead. 1 
Sometimes it is the water of the traditional Nile sources 
at Elephantine which, as especially sacred and pure, 
should be employed, 2 or the dead king appears there and 
the goddess of the cataract, Satis, performs the ceremonies 

1 Pyr. §§ 27-29, 275, 920-1; Ut. 323. 2 Pyr. § 864. 


of purification. 1 That this purification might have moral 
aspects we shall later (p. 171) see. But it was chiefly in- 
tended to produce ceremonial cleanness, and when this 
was attained the king was prepared to undertake the 
journey to the sky. 

We have already had occasion to remark that the 
region toward which he fared was the east of the sky, 
which in the Pyramid Texts is far more sacred than the 
west (pp. 100-102). Not only was the Sun-god born 
there every day as we have seen, but also the other 
gods. Over there was " this field, where the gods were be- 
gotten, over which the gods rejoice on these their New 
Year's Days," 2 and there likewise they were born. 3 Simi- 
larly according to one view, not infrequently occurring, 
the deceased king is born there. 4 It was there too that 
the eye of Horus fell when it was wrenched out by Set. 5 
In this sacred place are the doors of the sky, 6 before which 
stands "that tall sycomore east of the sky whereon the 
gods sit." 7 Again we hear of "the two sycomores which 
are on yonder side of the sky," which the king seizes when 
"they ferry him over and set him on the east side of the 
sky." 8 Here in this sacred place too the dead king finds 
the Sun-god, or is found by him, 9 here he ascends to the 
sky, 10 and here the ferry lands which has brought him over. 11 

I Pyr. § 1116. 2 Pyr. § 1187. 3 Pyr. § 928. 4 Pyr. § 607. 
5 Pyr. §§ 594-6, 947. 6 Pyr. §§ 1343, 1440. 7 Pyr. § 916. 
8 Pyr. § 1433. 9 Pyr. § 919. 10 Pyr. §§ 326, 883, 1530. 

II Pyr. § 1541. The supremacy of the east is such that even the 
Osirian Isis and Nephthys appear as " the great and mighty pair, who 
are in the east of the sky" (Pyr. §2200). In spite of the fact that 
Osiris is " First of the Westerners" he goes to the east in the Pyramid 
Texts, and the pair, Isis and Nephthys, carry the dead into the east 
(Pyr. Ut. 702). In Pyr. §§ 1496-8 the east combines with the south 
and "the middle of the sky" as places where the ascent to the sky 
may be made. 


When the deceased Pharaoh turned his face eastward 
toward this sacred region he was confronted by a lake 
lying along the east which it was necessary for him to 
cross in order to reach the realm of the Sun-god. It was 
on the further, that is eastern, shore of this lake that the 
eye of Horus had fallen in his combat with Set. 1 It was 
called the "Lily-lake," and it was long enough to possess 
"windings/' 2 and must have stretched far to the north 
and south along the eastern horizon. 3 Beyond it lay a 
strange wonder-land, alive with uncanny forces on every 
hand. All was alive, whether it was the seat into which 
the king dropped, or the steering-oar to which he reached 
out his hand, 4 or the barque into which he stepped, 5 or 
the gates through which he passed. To all these, or to 
anything which he found, he might speak; and these un- 
canny things might speak to him, like the swan-boat of 
Lohengrin. Indeed it was a wonder-world like that in 
the swan-stories or the Nibelungen tales of the Germanic 
traditions, a world like that of the Morte d'Arthur, where 
prodigies meet the wayfarer at every turn. 

To the dweller along the Nile the most obvious way to 
cross the Lily-lake is to embark in a ferry-boat. We find 
it among the rushes of the lake-shore with the ferryman 
standing in the stern poling it rapidly along. To do so 
he faces backward, and is therefore called " Face-behind," 
or "Look-behind." 6 He rarely speaks, but stands in 
silence awaiting his passenger. Numerous are the pleas 
and the specious petitions by which the waiting Pharaoh 

1 Pyr. § 595 b. 2 Pyr. § 2061 c. 

3 Pyr. §§ 802, 1376-7. On the eastern position of this lake see also 
Pyr. Ut. 359. The chief references on the subject are Pyr. §§ 469 a, 
543 b. 802 a, 1102 d, 1138 d, 1162 d, 1228 d, 1376 c, 1345 c, 1441a, 
1084 b; Ut. 359. 

* Pyr. § 6021. 5 Pyr. § 926. 6 Pyr. §§ 1201, 1227. 


seeks to cajole this mysterious boatman with averted face. 
We hear him assured that " this king Pepi is the herdman 
of thy cattle who is over thy breeding-place/' l and who 
must therefore be ferried over at once in the ferryman's 
own interests. Or the king brings with him a magic jar 
the power of which the boatman cannot resist, 2 or the ferry- 
man is assured that the Pharaoh is " righteous in the sight 
of the sky and of the earth" and of the isle to which they 
go. 3 Again the king is the dwarf or pygmy of the royal 
dances "who gladdens the (king's) heart before the great 
throne," 4 and he must therefore be hastened across to the 
court of Re to gladden the Sun-god. Indeed this is matter 
of common knowledge, as the ferryman is now told: 
"This is what thou hast heard in the houses and learned in 
the streets on this day when this king Pepi was summoned 
to life. . . . Lo, the two who are on the throne of the 
Great God (Re), they summon this king Pepi to life and 
satisfaction forever: they are Prosperity and Health. 
(Therefore) ferry over this king Pepi to the field of the 
good seat of the Great God." 5 We hear the boatman's 
challenge of the new-comer: "Whence hast thou come?" 
and the dead king must prove his royal lineage. 6 Or ap- 
peal may be made directly to Re: "O Re! Commend 
king Teti to ' Look-behind ' ferryman of the Lily-lake, that 
he may bring that ferry-boat of the Lily-lake, for king 
Teti, in which he ferries the gods to yonder side of the 
Lily-lake, that he may ferry king Teti to yonder side of 
the Lily-lake, to the east side of the sky." 7 If in spite of 
all the king's efforts the shadowy boatman proves ob- 
durate and refuses to bring his boat to the shore, then the 
king addresses the oar in the ferryman's hand: "Ho! 

1 Pyr. § 1183. 2 Pyr. § 1185. 3 Pyr. § 1188. 4 Pyr. § 1189. 
6 Pyr. §§ 1189-91. 6 Pyr. § 1091. 7 Pyr. §§ 599-600. 


Thou who art in the fist of the ferryman," l and if his 
words are powerful enough, the oar brings in the boat 
for the king. Sometimes it is on the opposite shore in 
charge of four curly haired guardians. These four are 
peremptorily summoned to bring it over to the king: "If 
ye delay to ferry over the ferry-boat to this king Pepi, 
this king Pepi will tell this your name to the people, 
which he knows; 2 . . . king Pepi will pluck out these locks 
that are in the middle of your heads like lotus flowers in 
the garden." 3 

Again, as so frequently in these texts, an unknown 
speaker in the king's behalf stands forth and threatens 
the boatman: "If thou dost not ferry over king Unis, 
then he will place himself upon the wing of Thoth. He, 
(even) he will ferry over king Unis to yonder side of the 
horizon. " 4 There is also another ferryman of a boat 
bearing the remarkable name of "Eye of Khnum," 5 who 
may be called upon in emergency; and should all other 
means fail the sceptres of the Imperishable Stars may serve 
as ferryman 6 or the two sycomores in the east may be pre- 
vailed upon to perform the same office for the king. 7 
Even Re himself is not unwilling to appear and ferry the 
dead king across. 8 In any case the dead cannot be left 
without a ship, for he possesses the cunning charm which 
brings them all together: "The knots are tied, the ferry- 
boats are brought together for the son of Atum. The 

1 Pyr. Ut. 616. 

2 To know the name of a god is to be able to control him. 

3 Pyr. § 1223. See also: Pyr. §§ 597, 599, 697, 925, 946, 999, 1091, 
1441, 1769, 1429, and Ut. 310, 516-522, 616. 

4 Pyr. §387; see also §§595-7, 1489, 1175. 

5 This is of course parallel with the designation, "Eye of Horus," 
which may also be applied to the boat. See Pyr. §§ 946, 445, 1769. 

6 Pyr. § 1432. 7 Pyr. § 1433. 8 Pyr. § 363. 


son of Atum is not without a boat; king Meniere is 
with the son of Atum; the son of Atum is not without 
a boat." 1 

From the earliest days the prehistoric peasant might 
cross the Nile on two reed floats bound firmly together 
side by side like two huge cigars. 2 One of the earliest 
folk-tales of the Sun-god's voyage depicted him as cross- 
ing the celestial waters on such a pair of floats, and how- 
ever primitive they might be, their use by the Sun-god had 
become common and involuntary belief. It required but 
the proper " sympathetic" transference of their use by Re 
to the dead Pharaoh, to insure him certain passage like 
that of the Sun-god. Horus (who, we recall, is but another 
form of the Sun-god) ferries over to the east of the sky 
on the two floats and he commends the dead king to " these 
four youths who sit on the east side of the sky, these four 
youths who sit in the shade of the tower of Kati," 3 "these 
four youths who stand on the east side of the sky . . . 
(and) who bind together the two floats for Re, . . ." 
will also "bind together the two floats for this king 
Pepi." 4 Thus just as "the two floats of the sky are 
placed for Re that he may ferry over therewith to the 
horizon," so "the two floats of the sky are placed for 

1 Pyr. § 1472. 

2 The writer was once, like the Pharaoh, without a boat in Nubia, 
and a native from a neighboring village at once hurried away and 
returned with a pair of such floats made of dried reeds from the Nile 
shores. On this somewhat precarious craft he ferried the writer over 
a wide channel to an island in the river. It was the first time that 
the author had ever seen this contrivance, and it was not a little in- 
teresting to find a craft which he knew only in the Pyramid Texts of 
5000 years ago still surviving and in daily use on the ancient river 
in far-off Nubia. There can be no doubt that this is the craft so 
often called the "two shnwy" (dual) in the Pyr. Texts. 

8 Pyr. § 1105. 4 Pyr. § 1026. 


king Unis that he may ferry over therewith to the horizon 
to Re." 1 

But even these many devices for crossing the eastern 
sea might fail and then the king must commit himself 
to the air and make the ascent to the sky. "Thy two 
wings are spread out like a falcon with thick plumage, like 
the hawk seen in the evening traversing the sky," says 
the mysterious speaker to the king. 2 "He flies who flies; 
this king Pepi flies away from you, ye mortals. He is 
not of the earth, he is of the sky. . . . This king Pepi flies 
as a cloud to the sky, like a masthead bird; this king 
Pepi kisses the sky like a falcon, this king Pepi reaches the 
sky like the Horizon-god (Harakhte) . " 3 The variant 
text has like a grasshopper, and in accordance with this 
we find that the dead king was born with the back of a 
grasshopper. 4 As the Egyptian grasshopper flies like 
a bird to vast heights, the back of a grasshopper was un- 
doubtedly an appropriate adjunct to the royal anatomy. 
But it was the falcon, the sacred bird of the Sun-god, whose 
lofty flight was especially desired for the king. He is 
"the great falcon upon the battlements of the house of 
him of the hidden name." 5 "Thy bones are falconesses, 
goddesses dwelling in the sky," say they to the king; 6 
or again, "Thou ascendest to the sky as a falcon, thy 
feathers are (those of) geese. " 7 The speaker also sees 
him escaping from the hands of men as the wild goose 
escapes the hand of the fowler clutching his feet and flies 
away to the sky; 8 "the tips of his wings are those of the 

1 Pyr. § 337. The floats were a favorite means of crossing; they are 
found frequently in the Pyramid Texts. See besides the above pas- 
sages also §§ 342, 351, 358, 464, 926-7, 932-5, 999-1000, 1085-6, 
1103, 1705. 

2 Pyr. § 1048. 3 Pyr. §§ 890-1. 4 Pyr. § 1772. 
* Pyr. § 1778. 6 Pyr. § 137. ' Pyr. § 913. 8 Pyr. § 1484. 


great goose." 1 Thus he "flies as a goose and flutters as 
a beetle." 2 "His face is (that of) falcons and his wings 
are (those of) geese "; 3 "king Unis flaps his wings like a 
zeret-bird, " 4 and the wind bears him on high. "King 
Unis goes to the sky, king Unis goes to the sky! On the 
wind! On the wind!" 5 "The clouds of the sky have 
taken him away, they exalt king Unis to Re. " 6 He "has 
ascended upon the rain-cloud." 7 Or the priest sees strange 
forms in the cloud of incense that soars above him and he 
cries: "He ascends upon the smoke of the great incense- 
burning." 8 

In the oblique rays of the sun also, shooting earthward 
through some opening in the clouds, they beheld a radiant 
stairway let down from the sky that the king might ascend. 
" King Pepi has put down this radiance as a stairway un- 
der his feet, whereon king Pepi ascended to this his mother, 
the living Urseus that is on the head of Re." 9 "Thou 
climbest, thou mountest the radiance, " says the speaker 10 as 
he beholds the king grasping the Solar rays. 11 Thus " stairs 
to the sky are laid for him that he may ascend thereon to 
the sky." 12 It is of course with the city of the sun that 
this stairway is associated: "The spirits of Heliopolis, 
they set up for him a stairway in order to reach the top." 13 
Sometimes the Solar splendor seems stretched out to him 
like vast arms, and the king "is a flame (moving) before 
the wind to the ends of the sky, to the ends of the earth 
when the arm of the sunbeams is lifted with king Unis. " 14 
Lest any portion of the king's body should fail to rise 
with him, all of his members, or at least the more impor- 

1 Pyr. § 1122. 2 Pyr. § 366. 3 Pyr. § 461. 4 Pyr. § 463. 

6 Pyr. § 309. 6 Pyr. § 336. 7 Pyr. § 1774. 8 Pyr. § 365. 

9 Pyr. § 1108. 10 Pyr. § 751. n Pyr. § 547. 

12 Pyr. § 365. 13 Pyr. § 1090. 14 Pyr. § 324. 


tant ones, twenty-six in number, are enumerated by name, 
beginning with the crown of his head and descending 
through face, eyes, nose, mouth, etc., to his toes, each 
member being identified with a different god, "when he 
ascends and lifts himself to the sky. " This canny device 
is of irresistible magical potency, so that "every god who 
shall not lay steps for this king Pepi when he ascends" 
shall suffer loss of all his offerings. Moreover, the gods 
are bidden to remember that " It is not this king Pepi who 
says this against you, it is the charm which says this 
against you, ye gods." On the other hand, "every god 
who shall lay steps for king Pepi when he ascends" is 
promised all offerings, and if he extends a helping hand to 
the king as he climbs up, this god's "ka shall be justified 
by Geb." * 

Again the broad sunbeams slanting earthward seem 
like a ladder to the imagination of this remote people and 
they say, "King Unis ascends upon the ladder which his 
father Re (the Sun-god) made for him." 2 Indeed we 
find the Sun-god making the ladder: "Atum has done 
that which he said he would do for this king Pepi II, bind- 
ing for him the rope-ladder, joining together the (wooden) 
ladder for this king Pepi II; (thus) this king is far from 
the abomination of men. " 3 Again it is the four sons of 

1 All the preceding from Pyr. Ut. 539. It seems impossible to sep- 
arate these primitive means of reaching the sky from the similar 
or identical means employed in later astral theology in the Mediter- 
ranean. They have survived in the grotesque tale of the ascent of 
Alexander in the late western (Latin) version of Pseudo-Callisthenes, 
from which they passed even into art. See Burlington Magazine, 
vol. VI, pp. 395 ff. The ladder of the next paragraph was a common 
device in astral mortuary theology. (See Cumont, Astrology and 
Religion, p. 184.) 

2 Pyr. § 390; similarly the ladder is associated with Heliopolis in 
Pyr. § 978. * Pyr. § 2083. 


Horus who "bind a rope-ladder for this king Pepi II; 
they join together a (wooden) ladder for king Pepi II. 
They send up king Pepi II to Khepri (the Sun-god) that 
he may arrive on the east side of the sky. Its timbers are 
hewn by Shesa, the ropes that are in it are joined together 
with cords of Gasuti, the Bull of the Sky (Saturn); the 
uprights at its sides are fastened with leather of r — *, 
born of the Heset-cow; a great support is placed under 
it by ' Him-who-Binds-the-Great-One. ' Lift ye up the 
ka of this king Pepi II; lead ye him to the two lions; 
make him ascend to Atum. " l An old Solar legend places 
the ladder in charge of Set, or at least associates it closely 
with him. We find it called the " ladder which carried the 
Ombite (Set)"; 2 but it also appears occasionally under 
the guardianship of Kebehet, daughter of Anubis. 3 Some- 
times the Sun-god summons all his divine subjects to 
assist in making the ladder. "It is done for this king 
Pepi by Atum as it was done for himself (Atum). He 
brings to this Pepi the gods belonging to the sky, he brings 
to him the gods belonging to the earth. They place their 

1 Pyr. §§ 2078-81. The exhortation at the end is addressed to the 
four sons of Horus of Letopolis, Imset, Hapi, Dewamutef , and Kebeh- 
senuf, who made the ladders. Some of the names and epithets are 
obscure; the two lions are Shu and Tefnut, see § 696 c and parallels. 
The Solar character of the ladder is evident in this passage also, which 
is one of the indications that the four sons of Horus are of Solar 
origin. Even in Osirianized passages the Solar origin of the ladder is 
unequivocal. See especially Pyr. § 472; also § 971 and infra, p. 153. 

2 Pyr. § 1253. In § 971 it is called " ladder of Set, " though as a pen- 
dant to this it is also called "ladder of Horus." Throughout this 
Utterance (478), however, it is afterward called the "ladder of Set," 
and it is evidently regarded as his, even though Osiris climbs it. 
Is this another form of the tradition that Set was forced to carry 

3 Pyr. § 468; besides the preceding references see also Pyr. § 1431, 
where the ladder is called "Ascender to the sky." 


arms under him. They make a ladder for king Pepi that 
he may ascend upon it to the sky." l The spectacle of 
the ascending king calls forth the admiration of the gods: 
"'How beautiful to see, how satisfying to behold,' say 
the gods, 'when this god (meaning the king) ascends to 
the sky. His fearfulness is on his head, his terror is at his 
side, his magical charms are before him.' 2 Geb has done 
for him as was done for himself (Geb) . The gods and souls 
of Buto, the gods and souls of Hierakonpolis, the gods in 
the sky and the gods on earth come to him. They make 
supports for king Unis on their arm(s). Thou ascendest, 

king Unis, to the sky. Ascend upon it in this its name 

1 Ladder.'" 3 

Men and gods together are called upon in mighty 
charms to lift the king. "O men and gods! Your arms 
under king Pepi ! Raise ye him, lift ye him to the sky, as 
the arms of Shu are under the sky and he raises it. To 
the sky! To the sky! To the great seat among the 
gods!" 4 Or the daughter of the ancient mortuary Anu- 
bis offers him her shoulder: "Kebehet places him on her 
shoulder, she puts him down among the gardens (like) 
the herdmen of the calves, " 5 a picture which we often 
see in the mastaba reliefs, as the cowherd wades cautiously 
across the canal, immersed to the waist, with a calf borne 
tenderly upon his shoulders, while the solicitous mother 
beast follows anxiously behind licking the flanks of the 
calf. Should all other means fail, Isis and Nephthys will 
offer their hips upon which the king mounts, while his 
father Atum reaches down and seizes the arm of the Pha- 
raoh; 6 or the earth itself may rise under the feet of the 

1 Pyr. §§ 1473-4. 

2 For the interpretation of this equipment, see p. 61, note 3. 

3 Pyr. §§ 476-9. 4 Pyr. § 1101. 5 Pyr. § 1348. 6 Pyr. §§ 379-380. 


waiting king and lift him to the sky, where Tefnut grasps 
his arm 1 and leads him into the celestial fields. 

But the possibility remained that the gates of the celes- 
tial country might not be opened to the new-comer. Over 
and over again we find the assurance that the double doors 
of the sky are opened before the Pharaoh: "Opened are 
the double doors of the horizon; unlocked are its bolts" 2 
is a constant refrain in the Pyramid Texts. That art 
which opened the door for Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 
had opened many a gate in the ancient East, thousands of 
years before the Arabian Nights made it familiar to us of 
the western world. The king faces the gates with these 
words: "O lofty one, (Gate) whom no one names! Gate 
of Nut! King Teti is Shu who came forth from Atum. 
O Nun! (the primeval waters) cause that this (gate) 
be opened for king Teti." 3 " He causes that those double 
doors of the sky be opened for king Teti (by the following 
charm) : 

"'Men fall, 

Their name is not. 
Seize thou king Teti by his arm; 
Take thou king Teti to the sky, 
That he die not on earth, 
Among men.'" 4 

A similar method appealed to the fact that the sky- 
gates had once opened to each of the four eastern Horuses, 
and by sympathetic analogy they must now inevitably do 
the same for the king. "The double doors of the sky are 
opened, the double doors of the firmament are thrown 
open to Horus of the gods. . . . The double doors of the 
sky are opened to this king Pepi, the double doors of the 

1 Pyr. § 990. 2 Pyr. § 194. 3 Pyr. § 603. 4 Pyr. § 604. 


firmament are thrown open to this king Pepi." * In the 
same way the approaching king is identified with the four 
eastern Horuses one after the other, after which Re may 
be appealed to as his father: "O father of king Pepi, O 
Re! Take thou this king Pepi with thee for life to thy 
mother Nut, who opens the double doors of the sky to 
this king Pepi, who throws open the double doors of the 
firmament to this king Pepi." 2 

The difficulty of the gates and the ascension might, how- 
ever, be met by an appeal of men directly to the Sun-god : 
" 'Ho Re/ say men, when they stand beside this king Pepi 
on earth while thou appearest in the east of the sky, 'give 
thy arm to king Pepi; take thou him with thee to the east 
side of the sky.'" 3 

It will be seen that in spite of the conviction of life, 
abounding life, with which the Pyramid Texts are filled, 
they likewise reveal the atmosphere of apprehension 
which enveloped these men of the early world as they 
contemplated the unknown and untried dangers of the 
shadow world. Whichever way the royal pilgrim faced 
as he looked out across the eastern sea he was beset with 
apprehensions of the possible hostility of the gods, and 
there crowded in upon him a thousand fancies of danger 
and opposition which clouded the fair picture of blessed- 
ness beyond. There is an epic touch in the dauntless 
courage, with which the solitary king, raising himself like 
some elemental colossus, and claiming sway over the gods 
themselves, confronts the celestial realm and addresses the 

1 Pyr. § 1408. 

2 Pyr. §§ 1479-80. There are four Utterances which are built up 
on the four Horuses: 325, 563, and 479, which are of the same general 
structure; and 573 of different structure, in which the identification 
of the king with the four Horuses perhaps takes place. On the latter 
see also infra, pp. loi-6. 3 Pyr. § 1496. 


Sun-god: "I know thy name. I am not ignorant of thy 
name. 1 'Limitless' is thy name. The name of thy father 
is ' Possessor-of-Greatness.' Thy mother is ' Satisfaction, ' 
who bears thee every morning. The birth of 'Limitless' 
in the horizon shall be prevented, if thou preventest this 
king Pepi from coming to the place where thou art." 2 
The king wielding his magical power thus makes himself 
sovereign of the universe and will stop the very rising 
("birth") of the sun if he is halted at the gate of the Sun- 
god's realm. Far less impressive is the king's threat 
directed against the gods who oppose him as he mounts 
the ladder. "Every spirit and every god who shall op- 
pose his arm to this king Pepi, when he ascends to the sky 
on the ladder of the god, the earth shall not be hoed for 
him, an offering shall not be brought for him, he shall not 
ferry over to the evening meal in Heliopolis, he shall not 
ferry over to the morning meal in Heliopolis." 3 Like- 
wise Kebehet, the daughter of Anubis, perched on the two 
uprights of the ladder, is adjured to "open the way of 
king Unis, that king Unis may pass by," and in the same 
words the "Ostrich on the shore of the Lily-lake" and the 
"Bull of Re, having four horns," one toward each of the 
cardinal points, are warned to make way for him. 4 

And so at last the departed king draws near the eastern 
shore of the Lily-lake, 5 and "this king Pepi finds the 
glorious by reason of their equipped mouths, 6 sitting on 

1 To know the name of a god was to hold sway over him. 

2 Pyr. §§ 1434-5. Compare similar threatening of the Sun-god, 
infra, p. 308. 

3 Pyr. § 978. 

4 Pyr. §§ 468-471; see also §§ 504, 1432, and 914. 

5 This was the case whether he ferried over by boat or employed 
the ladder; for the latter was set up in the east, and the ascent was 
made there; e. g., Pyr. § 928. 

6 For the explanation of this term see p. 94. 


the two shores of the lake, ... the drinking-place of 
every glorious one by reason of his equipped mouth." 
Then they challenge the new arrival and the king replies: 
"I am a glorious one by reason of his equipped mouth." 
'"How has this happened to thee,' say they to king Pepi, 
. . . 'that thou hast come to this place more august than 
any place? ' ' Pepi has come to this place more august than 
any place, because the two floats of the sky were placed,' 
says the morning-barque, 'for Re'"; 1 and at the story 
of his successful crossing as Re had crossed, the celestials 
break out into jubilee. 2 Thereupon the Pharaoh lands, 
takes up their manner of life, and sits before the palace 
ruling them. 3 Again we hear a solitary voice issuing from 
the world of the dead and challenging the king as he 
ascends and passes through the gates of the sky, led by 
Geb: "Ho! Whence comest thou, son of my father?" 
And another voice answers : " He has come from the Divine 
Ennead that is in the sky, that he may satisfy them with 
their bread." Again comes the challenge : "Ho! Whence 
comest thou, son of my father?" and we hear the reply: 
" He has come from the Divine Ennead that is on earth, 
that he may satisfy them with their bread." The ques- 
tioner is still unsatisfied: "Ho! Whence comest thou, 
son of my father? " " He has come from the Zenedzender- 
barque." And then we hear the question for the last 
time: "Ho! Whence comest thou, son of my father?" 
" He has come from these his two mothers, the two vult- 
ures with long hair and hanging breasts, who are on the 
mountain of Sehseh. They draw their breasts over the 
mouth of king Pepi, but they do not wean him forever." 
Thereafter the challenging voice is silent 4 and the Pharaoh 
enters the kingdom of the sky. 

iPyr. §§930-2. 2 Pyr.§935. 3 Pyr. §§ 936-8. 4 Pyr.§§ 1116-19. 



We have followed the royal pilgrim as he passed through 
the celestial gates, where he awaited announcement of his 
arrival to the Sun-god, in whose realm he must now abide. 
We behold his heralds hastening to announce his advent. 
" Thy messengers go, thy swift messengers run, thy heralds 
make haste. They announce to Re that thou hast come, 
(even) this king Pepi." x We hear their message as they 
shout, "' Behold, he comes! Behold, he comes !' says 
Sehpu. 'Behold the son of Re comes, the beloved of Re 
comes/ says Sehpu, 'who was made to come by Honis.'" 2 
The gods crowd down to the shore. "This king Pepi 
found the gods standing, wrapped in their garments, their 
white sandals on their feet. They cast off their white 
sandals to the earth, they throw off their garments. 'Our 
heart was not glad until thy coming,' say they." 3 Again 
they are overcome with awe as they hear the proclamation 
of the heralds and behold the king approaching. Re 
stands before the gates of the horizon leaning upon his 
sceptre, while the gods are grouped about him. "The 

1 Pyr. §§ 1539-40; this passage has been Osirianized, but it will be 
found in its original form in §§ 1991-2. 

2 Pyr. § 1492; the same formula is repeated with the names of Set, 
Geb, the souls of Heliopolis and the souls of Buto in the place of the 
name of Horus. 

3 Pyr. § 1197. 



gods are silent before thee, the Nine Gods have laid their 
hands upon their mouths, ,, says the herald voice. 1 

It may be, however, that the king finds himself without 
any messenger to despatch to Re, and in this case the 
ferryman may be induced to announce his coming. 2 
Otherwise, as he approaches the gate the gate-keeper is 
called upon to perform this office. " Ho, Methen ! Keeper 
of the great gate! Announce this king Pepi to these two 
great gods" (Re and Horus). 3 He may even be obliged to 
intrust his case to the good offices of Re's body servant, 
affording an interesting side-light on the possible methods 
of gaining the royal ear in this distant age. "O ye who 
are over the offering and the libation! Commit king 
Unis to Fetekta, the servant of Re, that he may commit 
him to Re himself." 4 More often the gods themselves, 
who have greeted him with acclamation, or have stood in 
awed silence at his coming, proclaim it far and near, after 
they have announced him to Re: "0 Re-Atum! This 
king Unis comes to thee, an imperishable glorious-one, 
lord of the affairs of the place of the four pillars (the sky) . 
Thy son comes to thee. This king Unis comes to thee." 
Then Set and Nephthys hasten to the south, where they 
proclaim his coming "to the gods of the south and their 
spirits": "This king Unis comes indeed, an imperishable 
glorious-one. When he desires that ye die, ye die; when 
he desires that ye live, ye live." To the north Osiris and 
Isis say: "This king Unis comes indeed, an imperishable 
glorious-one, like the morning star over the Nile. The 
spirits dwelling in the water praise him. When he desires 
that he live, he lives; when he desires that he die, he dies." 
Thoth hastens to the west with the words: "This king 

1 Pyr. §§253-5. 2 Pyr. §597. 

3 Pyr. §952. 4 Pyr. §120. 


Unis comes indeed, an imperishable spirit, adorned with 
the jackal on the sceptre before the western height. 1 He 
numbers the hearts, he takes possession of the hearts. 
When he desires that he live, he lives; when he desires 
that he die, he dies." Finally Horus, speeding to the east, 
proclaims: "This king Unis comes indeed, an imperish- 
able spirit. When he desires that he live, he lives; when 
he desires that he die, he dies." In conclusion of this 
fourfold announcement at the cardinal points, the voice 
again cries to Re, u O Re-Atum! Thy son comes to thee, 
Unis comes to thee. Lift him up to thee, enfold thou him 
in thy embrace. He is thy bodily son forever." 2 

Thus received by his father, the question of the status 
of the royal pilgrim at once arises. His ambitions some- 
times seem lowly enough, and he is even amusingly un- 
ceremonious in carrying them out. Yonder sits Re at 
his "divan" with his secretary at his side, the scribe 
having his two pens thrust behind his ears, while a large 
roll of papyrus is spread across his knees. As the king 
approaches a voice is heard: "O scribe, scribe! Break 
thy writing kit, smash thy two pens, destroy thy papyrus 
rolls. O Re! Expel him from his post and put king 
Pepi in his place." 3 Thus ensconced in a snug post as 
secretary of the ruler of the celestial realm, "King Unis 
sits before him (Re), king Unis opens his chests (of papers), 
king Unis breaks open his edicts, king Unis seals his de- 
crees, king Unis despatches his messengers who weary 
not, king Unis does what he (Re) says to king Unis." 4 
Thus the king becomes the counsellor of the Sun-god, 
"the wise one bearing the divine book on the right of 

1 The jackal is an old god of the west, and the reference is to a 
jackal's head, which commonly appears on the head of a sceptre. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 217. 3 Pyr. § 954. 4 Pyr. §§ 490-1. 


Re." l Again we find the dead Pharaoh serving as a 
priest "before Re, bearing this jar, which purifies the 
Southland before Re, when he comes forth from his 
horizon." 2 He may even appear as Uneg, the son and 
body-servant of Re, 3 and we behold him as "a star . . . 
long of stride, bringing the provisions of the (daily) 
journey to Re every day." 4 

More often the greatest intimacy and familiarity now 
develop between the Sun-god and the newly arrived king; 
"every beautiful place where Re goes, he finds this king 
Pepi there." 5 Should there be any difficulties in the way, 
the dead king recites a magical hymn 6 in praise of the 
Sun-god, which smoothes the way to perfect fellowship 
with Re. The priestly editor has added the assurance: 
"Now he who knows this chapter of Re, and he doeth 
them, (even) these charms of Harakhte (the Horizon-god), 
he shall be the familiar of Re, he shall be the friend of 
Harakhte. King Pepi knows it, this chapter of Re; king 
Pepi doeth them, these charms of Harakhte. King Pepi 
is the familiar of Re, king Pepi is the companion of 
Harakhte." 7 Thus the departed Pharaoh may "sit at 
his (Re's) shoulder, and Re does not permit him to throw 
himself upon the earth (in obeisance), knowing that he 
(the king) is greater than he (Re)." 8 In the quaint 
imagination of the priestly editor, the king may even 
become the lotus flower, which the god holds to his nose. 9 

But that association with Re in which the Egyptian took 
the greatest delight was the voyage with him across the 
sky in his daily journey to the west. As the cool Nile 
breezes and the picturesque life of the refreshing river 

1 Pyr. § 267. 

2 Pyr. § 1179. 

3 Pyr. § 952. 

4 Pyr. § 263. 

6 Pyr. § 918. 

6 See above, pp. 13-14. 

7 Pyr. §§'855-6. 

s Pyr. §813. 

9 Pyr. § 266. 


were the central picture in his earthly life, so he looked 
forward to finding the celestial Nile the source of the same 
joy in the life hereafter. " Thou embarkest in this barque 
of Re, to which the gods love to ascend, in which they 
love to embark, in which Re is rowed to the horizon." l 
The simplest form of this belief places the dead king 
among the crew of the Solar barque. "King Pepi re- 
ceives to himself his oar, he takes his seat, he seats himself 
in the bow of the ship, ... he rows Re to the west." 2 
If there is no other way to secure passage in the beautiful 
"sunbeam-barque," 3 the once splendid Pharaoh is per- 
mitted to come along as little better than a stowaway and 
to bail out the craft. 4 

The theological theory of the state in the Pyramid Age, 
as we have seen, represents the Pharaoh as the son of the 
Sun-god. The Pyramid Texts of course take full advan- 
tage of this circumstance, and often call upon Re to recog- 
nize and protect his son. The dead Pharaoh boldly ap- 
proaches the Sun-god with the words : "1,0 Re, am this 
one of whom thou didst say, . . . ' My son ! ' My father 
art thou, O Re. . . . Behold king Pepi, O Re. This king 
Pepi is thy son. . . . This king Pepi shines in the east 
like Re, he goes in the west like Kheprer. This king Pepi 
lives on that whereon Horus (son of Re) lord of the sky 
lives, by command of Horus lord of the sky." 5 As Re, 
however, was his own son, begotten every day and born 
every morning, the sonship of the Pharaoh ultimately 
leads to his identity with Re, and the priestly elaborators 
of the Pyramid Texts had no hesitation in reaching this 
result. This was the more easy in that they had made the 
king divine by subtle ceremonies, especially the burning 

1 Pyr. § 1687. 2 Pyr. § 906 = §§ 1573-4. See also § 889. 

3 Pyr. § 1346. 4 Pyr. § 335 = § 950. B Pyr. §§ 886-8. 


of incense, at his interment. 1 Even without encroaching 
upon the position of Re the dead Pharaoh is pictured as 
divine, and his divinity is proclaimed to the denizens of 
the other world. "Lift up your faces, gods dwelling in 
Dewat. 2 King Unis has come that ye may see him be- 
come a great god. . . . Protect yourselves all of you. 
King Unis commands men; king Unis judges the living 
in the court of the region of Re. King Unis speaks to 
this pure region which he has visited, that he may dwell 
therein with the judge of the two gods. King Unis is 
mighty beside him (Re). King Unis bears the sceptre; 
it purifies king Unis. King Unis sits with them that row 
Re; king Unis commands good that he may do it. King 
Unis is a great god." 3 

This divinity is unmistakably defined more than once. 
"King Teti is this eye of Re, that passes the night, is 
conceived and born every day." 4 "His mother the sky 
bears him living every day like Re. He dawns with him 
in the east, he sets with him in the west, his mother Nut 
(the sky) is not void of him any day. He equips king 
Pepi II with life, he causes his heart joy, he causes his 
heart pleasure." 5 "Thou earnest forth as king Pepi, 
king Pepi came forth as thou." 6 The dead king does not 
merely receive the office and station of Re, he actually 
becomes Re. "Thy body is in king Pepi, O Re; preserve 
alive thy body in king Pepi, O Re." 7 " King Teti is thou 
(Re), thou art king Teti; thou shinest in king Teti, king 
Teti shines in thee." 8 He is even identified with Atum 
limb by limb, 9 or with Atum and the Solar gods, who are 
themselves identified with Atum. 10 Thus he becomes king 

1 Pyr. § 25. 2 See p. 144, n. 2. 

3 Pyr. Ut. 252. 4 Pyr. § 698; also § 704. 

6 Pyr. §§ 1835-6. 6 Pyr. § 1875. , 7 Pyr. § 1461 b. 

8 Pyr. § 703-4. 9 Pyr. § 135. 10 Pyr. §§ 147-9. 


of the sky in Re's place. "Thou embarkest therein (in 
the Sun-barque) like Re; thou sittest down on this throne 
of Re, that thou mayest command the gods; for thou art 
Re, who came forth from Nut, who begets Re every day." 1 
There are indeed hints that the Pharaoh takes forcible 
possession of the Sun-god's throne, 2 and their identity 
does not exclude the idea of his being dispossessed, or 
even of his continued benefits to the Pharaoh, though 
these are sometimes mutual. The voice says to Re: 
"Make king Teti sound, and Teti will make thee sound; 
make king Teti green (fresh, youthful), and Teti will 
make thee green," and thus a mystical relationship 
with Hathor, the eye of Re, is established, " which turns 
back the years from king Teti" and they pass over him 
without increasing his age. 3 

Perhaps the finest fragment of literature preserved in 
the Pyramid Texts is a Sun-hymn 4 in which the king is 
identified with the Sun-god. The hymn addresses Egypt 
in a long and imposing enumeration of the benefits which 
she enjoys under the protection and sovereignty of the 
Sun-god. Hence Egypt offers him her wealth and produce. 
Now in view of the fact that the Pharaoh is identified 
with the Sun-god, the Pharaoh, therefore, confers the 
same benefits on Egypt, and must therefore receive the 
same gifts from Egypt. The entire hymn is therefore 
repeated with the insertion of the Pharaoh's name wherever 
that of Re or Horus occurs in the original hymn, 5 and 

1 Pyr. § 1688. 2 Pyr. § 306 

3 Pyr. §§ 704-5. Compare also Utterance 573, in which the king 
is probably identified with the four Horuses, that Re may protect 
and preserve him alive. 

4 Pyr. Ut. 587; see infra, pp. 13-14. 

5 This entire Utterance, 587, is really but a longer example of the 
sympathetic operation of the god's activities, of which we have 
innumerable examples throughout the Pyramid Texts, The god 


thus the king appropriates to himself all the homage and 
offerings received by the Sun-god from Egypt. 

But the imagination of the priests does not stop here. 
Equality or identity with Re is not enough, and we behold 
the translated Pharaoh a cosmic figure of elemental vast- 
ness, even superior to the Sun-god in the primeval darkj 
ness. The mysterious voice cries: "Father of king Teti J 
Father of king Teti in darkness! Father of king Teti) 
Atum in darkness! Bring thou king Teti to thy side that 
he may kindle for thee the light; that he may protect 
thee, as Nun (the primeval ocean) protected these four 
goddesses on the day when they protected the throne, 
(even) Isis, Nephthys, Neit, and Serket." l The dead 
king sweeps the sky as a devouring fire as soon as "the 
arm of the sunbeams is lifted with king Unis." 2 Again 
we see him towering between earth and sky: "This his 
right arm, it carries the sky in satisfaction; this his left 
arm, it supports the earth in joy." 3 The imagination 
runs riot in figures of cosmic power, and the king becomes 
"the outflow of the rain, he came forth at the origin of 
water"; 4 or he gains the secret and the power of all things 
as "the scribe of the god's-book, which says what is and 
causes to be what is not." 5 He came forth before the 
world or death existed. "The mother of king Pepi be- 
came pregnant with him, O Dweller in the r nether sky 1 ; 
this king Pepi was born by his father Atum before the 
sky came forth, before the earth came forth, before men 
came forth, before gods were born, before death came 
forth. This king Pepi escapes the day of death as Set 

crosses the Lily-lake, the king crosses; the god is purified, the king 
is purified; the god sails the sky, the king sails the sky, etc., etc. 

1 Pyr. Ut. 362. 2 Pyr. § 324. 

3 Pyr. § 1156. 4 Pyr. § 1146. 5 Pyr. § 1146. 


escaped the day of death. This king Pepi belongs to 
your '"company 1 , ye gods of the r nether sky 1 , who cannot 
perish by their enemies; this king Pepi perishes not by 
his enemies. (Ye) who die not by a king, this king Pepi 
dies not by a king; (ye) who die not by any dead, king 
Pepi dies not by any dead." L When in process of time 
the gods were born, the king was present at their birth. 

The mergence of the king into the very body and being 
of Re is analogous to his assimilation by the gods as a 
group. One of the most remarkable passages in the 
Pyramid Texts employs the ceremony and the suggestive- 
ness of incense-burning as a sympathetic agency by which, 
as the odorous vapor arises from earth to the gods, it 
bears aloft the fragrance of the king to mingle with that 
of the gods, and thus to draw them together in fellowship 
and association. The passage is of importance as a very 
early priestly interpretation of the significance of incense 
as fellowship with the gods. The passage reads: 

"The fire is laid, the fire shines; 
The incense is laid on the fire, the incense shines. 
Thy fragrance comes to king Unis, O Incense; 
The fragrance of king Unis comes to thee, O Incense. 
Your fragrance comes to king Unis, O ye gods; 
The fragrance of king Unis comes to you, O ye gods. 
King Unis is with you, ye gods; 
Ye are with king Unis, ye gods. 
King Unis lives with you, ye gods; 
Ye live with king Unis, ye gods. 
King Unis loves you, ye gods; 
Love ye him, ye gods." 2 

1 Pyr. §§ 1466-8. 

2 Pyr. §§ 376-8. The variant in the last line has: "Ye love this 
Pepi, ye gods." The poem was of course accompanied by the burn- 
ing of incense; also by an offering of bread which immediately fol- 
lowed. A formula of the ascension, as frequently with the burning 
of incense, then follows. 


This fellowship thus mystically symbolized is in sharp 
contrast with a dark and forbidding picture, surviving 
from vastly remote prehistoric days, in which we see 
the savage Pharaoh ferociously preying upon the gods 
like a blood-thirsty hunter in the jungle. The passage 
begins with the terrifying advent of the Pharaoh in the 

"Clouds darken the sky, 
The stars rain down, 
The Bows (a constellation) stagger, 
The bones of the hell-hounds tremble, 
The 'porters 1 are silent, 
When they see king Unis dawning as a soul, 
As a god living on his fathers, 
Feeding on his mothers. 
King Unis is lord of wisdom, 
Whose mother knows not his name. 
The honor of king Unis is in the sky, 
His might is in the horizon, 
Like Atum his father who begat him. 

When he begat him, he was stronger than he. 


King Unis is one who eats men and lives on gods, 

Lord of messengers, who 'despatches 1 his messages; 

It is 'Grasper-of-Forelocks' living in Kehew 

Who binds them for king Unis. 

It is the serpent 'Splendid-Head' 

Who watches them for him and repels them for him. 

It is 'He-who-is-upon-the- Willows' 

Who lassoes them for him. 

It is 'Punisher-of-all-Evil-doers* 

Who stabs them for king Unis. 

He takes out for him their entrails, 

He is a messenger whom he (king Unis) sends to 'punish 1 . 

1 The passage omitted is an obscure description of the equipment 
of the dead king, which, however, contains an important statement 
that the king "lives on the being of every god, eating their organs 
who come with their belly filled with charms." 


Shesmu cuts them up for king Unis 

And cooks for him a portion of them 

In his evening kettles (or 'as his evening kettles = meal'). 

King Unis is he who eats their charms, 

And devours their glorious ones (souls). 

Their great ones are for his morning portion, 

Their middle (-sized) ones are for his evening portion, 

Their little ones are for his night portion. 

Their old men and their old women are for his incense-burning. 

It is the 'Great-Ones-North-of-the-Sky' 

Who set for him the fire to the kettles containing them, 

With the legs of their oldest ones (as fuel). 

The 'Dwellers-in-the-Sky' revolve for king Unis (in his service). 

r The kettles are replenished 1 for him with the legs of their women. 

He has encircled all the Two Skies (corresponding to the Two Lands), 

He has revolved about the two regions. 

King Unis is the 'Great Mighty-One* 

Who overpowers the 'Mighty Ones' 

Whom he finds in his way, him he devours. . . . l 

The protection of king Unis is before all the noble (dead) 

Who dwell in the horizon. 

King Unis is a god, older than the eldest. 

Thousands revert to him, 

Hundreds are offered to him. 

Appointment as ' Great One ' is given to him 

By Orion, father of gods. 

King Unis has dawned again in the sky, 

Shining 1 as lord of the horizon. 

He has taken the hearts of the gods; 

He has eaten the Red, 

He has swallowed the Green. 

King Unis is nourished on satisfied organs, 

He is satisfied, living on their hearts and their charms. 

Their charms are in his belly. 

The dignities of king Unis are not taken away from him; 

1 This line is found three times: §§ 278 a, 407, 444 e. 


He hath swallowed the knowledge of every god. 

The lifetime of king Unis is eternity, 

His limit is everlastingness in this his dignity of: 

* If-he- wishes-he-does, 

If-he-wishes-not-he-does-not/ 1 

Who dwells in the limits of the horizon for ever and ever. 

Lo, their (the gods') soul is in the belly of king Unis, 

Their Glorious Ones are with king Unis. 

The plenty of his portion is more than (that of) the gods. 

Lo, their soul is with king Unis." 2 

In this remarkable picture the motive of the grotesque 
cannibalism is perfectly clear. The gods are hunted down, 
lassoed, bound, and slaughtered like wild cattle, that the 
king may devour their substance, and especially their in- 
ternal organs, like the heart where the intelligence had 
its seat, in the belief that he might thus absorb and ap- 
propriate their qualities and powers. When "he has 
taken the hearts of the gods," "he has swallowed the 
knowledge of every god," and "their charms are in his 
belly"; and because the organs of the gods which he has 
devoured are plentifully satisfied with food, the king 
cannot hunger, for he has, as it were, eaten complete 

This introduces us to a subject to which the Pyramid 
Texts devote much space — the question of the food 
supply in the distant realm of the Sun-god. To explain 
the apparently aimless presentation of food at the tomb, 
where, in the Solar belief the dead no longer tarried, it 
was assumed that the food offered there was transmitted 
to the dead in various ways. Sometimes it is Thoth who 
conveys the food from the tomb to the sky and delivers 

1 This is a name or rank expressed in a couplet. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 273. 


it to the dead king; l again it is the two Solar barques 
who transport it thither. 2 The "Imperishable Stars" 
too may convey the food offered on earth to the kas in 
the sky 3 or the ferryman may be prevailed upon to do so. 4 
In any case the chief dread felt by the Egyptian for the 
hereafter was fear of hunger, and especially the danger 
that he might be reduced to the detestable extremity of 
consuming his own uncleanness. "The abomination of 
king Unis is offal; he rejects urine, he eats it not." 5 

More commonly the celestial region where he tarries 
furnishes all his necessities. As son of Re, born of the 
Sky-goddess, he is frequently represented as suckled by 
one of the Sky-goddesses or some other divinity con- 
nected with Re, especially the ancient goddesses of the 
prehistoric kingdoms of South and North. These appear 
as "the two vultures with long hair and hanging breasts; 
. . . they draw their breasts over the mouth of king Pepi, 
but they do not wean him forever"; 6 or we find them as 
the two crowns of the two kingdoms personified as god- 
desses: "This king Pepi knows his mother, he forgets not 
his mother: (even) the White Crown shining and broad 
that dwells in Nekheb, mistress of the southern palace . . . 
and the bright Red Crown, mistress of the regions of 
Buto. O mother of this king Pepi . . . give thy breast 
to this king Pepi, suckle this king Pepi therewith." To 
this the goddess responds: "O my son Pepi, my king, my 
breast is extended to thee, that thou mayest suck it, my 
king, and live, my king, as long as thou art little." 7 This 

i Pyr. § 58. 2 Pyr. § 717. 3 Pyr. § 1220. 

4 Pyr. Ut. 521. Hence it is that even in the sky the deceased 
Pharaoh is concerned that the food supply of his ''altars that are 
on earth" shall be continued. See Pyr. § 1482. 

6 Pyr. § 718. 6 Pyr. §§ 1118-19. 7 Pyr. §§910-913. 


incident exhibits more of the naturally and warmly human 
than anything else in the Solar theology. 

Besides this source of nourishment, and the very bodies 
of the gods themselves, 1 there were also the offerings of 
all Egypt, as we have seen in the ancient Sun-hymn, where 
the dead king receives all that is offered by Egypt to Re 
(pp. 13-14). It is taken for granted that the celestial 
revenues belong to the king, and that they will meet all 
his wants. We hear the voice calling for the mortuary 
revenues in his behalf : " An offering which the king gives ! 
An offering which Anubis gives ! Thy thousand of young 
antelope from the highland, they come to thee with bowed 
head. An offering which the king gives! An offering 
which Anubis gives! Thy thousand of bread! Thy 
thousand of beer! Thy thousand of incense, that came 
forth from the palace hall ! Thy thousand of everything 
pleasant! Thy thousand of cattle! Thy thousand of 
everything thou eat est, on which thy desire is set!" 2 
The Pyramid Texts delight to picture the plenty which 
the king is to enjoy. "Plenty has extended her arm 
toward king Teti. The two arms of king Teti have em- 
braced fisher and fowler, (even) all that the field furnishes 
to her son, the fisher-fowler." 3 We even see him going 
about with sack and basket collecting quantities of food, 4 
food of the gods which cannot perish, " bread which cannot 
dry up" and "beer which cannot grow stale." 5 For the 
voice prays to the Sun-god: "Give thou bread to this 
king Pepi from this thy eternal bread, thy everlasting 
beer," 6 and we read that "this king Pepi receives his 

1 As above (pp. 127-9) . The phrase " Whom he finds in his way he 
eats him for himself," referring to divine victims whom he devours 
as food, is found no less than three times (Pyr. §§ 278 a, 407, 444 e). 

2 Pyr. §§ 808-7. 3 Pyr. § 555. 4 Pyr. § 556. 
5 Pyr. §859. 6 Pyr. §1117. 


provision from that which is in the granary of the Great 
God (Re) " l and his "bread is the bread of the god which 
is in the palace hall." 2 There in "the good seat of the 
Great God, in which he does the things to be done with 
the revered (dead), he appoints them to food and assigns 
them to fowling . . .; he appoints king Pepi to food, he 
assigns king Pepi to fowling." 3 He is surrounded by 
plenty: "He who is behind him belongs to food, he who 
is before him belongs to snared fowl," 4 and thus "that 
land into which king Unis goes — he thirsts not in it, he 
hungers not in it forever," 5 for there "Appetite belongs 
to the morning meal of the king, Plenty belongs to his 
evening meal." 6 Again a voice summons him: "Ho, 
king Pepi! . . . Raise thee up! Arise! Sit down to thy 
thousand of bread, thy thousand of beer, thy thousand of 
oxen, thy thousand of geese, thy thousand of everything 
whereon the god lives." 7 There can be no failure of the 
source of supply: "a god does not escape from what he 
has said. (Therefore) he will furnish to thee thy thou- 
sand of bread, thy thousand of beer, thy thousand of 
oxen, thy thousand of geese, thy thousand of everything 
on which the god lives." 8 

There were, to be sure, certain contingencies to be 
guarded against, lest some one else should secure the 
provisions intended for the king. "This king Pepi eats 
this his sole bread alone; he does not give it to the one be- 
hind him;" 9 nor does he permit the fowl of the air to 
plunder him of his portion. 10 If necessary he may resort 
to magical means, so cunningly devised that he is enabled 
to banish hunger and thirst and drive them far away. 

1 Pyr. § 1182. 2 Pyr. § 866. 3 Pyr. §§ 1191-2. 

4 Pyr. § 1394. 5 Pyr. § 382. 6 Pyr. § 1876. 

7 P.yr. §§ 2026-7. 8 Pyr. § 2006. » Pyr. § 1226. 10 Ibid. 


"Hunger! Come not to king Teti. Hasten to Nun (the 
primeval flood), go to the flood. King Teti is sated; he 
hungers not by reason of this bread of Horus which he 
has eaten, which his eldest daughter made for him. He is 
satisfied therewith, he takes this land therewith. King 
Teti thirsts not by reason of Shu; he hungers not by 
reason of Tefnut. Hapi, Dewamutef, Kebehsenuf, and 
Imset (the four sons of Horus), they expel this hunger 
which is in the body of king Teti, and this thirst which is 
in the lips of king Teti." l 

Finally one of the most, if not the most, important of 
the numerous sources from which the departed Pharaoh 
hoped to draw his sustenance in the realm of Re was the 
tree of life in the mysterious isle in the midst of the Field 
of Offerings, in search of which he sets out in company 
with the Morning Star. The Morning Star is a gorgeous 
green falcon, a Solar divinity, identified with "Horus of 
Dewat." He has four faces, corresponding to the four 
Horuses of the East, with whom he is doubtless also 
identified. 2 We find him standing in the bow of his celes- 
tial barque of seven hundred and seventy cubits in length, 
and there the voice addresses him: "Take thou this king 
Pepi with thee in the cabin of thy boat. . . . Thou takest 
this thy favorite harpoon, thy staff which '"pierces 1 the 
canals, whose points are the rays of the sun, whose barbs 
are the claws of Mafdet. King Pepi cuts off therewith 
the heads of the adversaries, dwelling in the Field of Offer- 
ings, when he has descended to the sea.. Bow thy head, 
decline thy arms, Sea! The children of Nut are these 

1 Pyr. Ut. 338; see also Ut. 339, 340, 400, 438. The charm quoted 
above may be Osirian, in view of "the bread of Horus," but the dis- 
tinction between Osirian and Solar elements is here of slight con- 
sequence. 2 Pyr. § 1207. 


(Pepi and the Morning Star) who have descended to thee, 
wearing their garlands on their heads, wearing their gar- 
lands at their throats." Here the homage of the sea is 
claimed because Pepi and the Morning Star are bent upon 
a beneficent errand for Isis and Horus. 1 The story then 
proceeds: "This king Pepi opened his path like the 
fowlers, he exchanged greetings with the lords of the 
kas, he went to the great isle in the midst of the Field of 
Offerings over which the gods make the swallows fly. 
The swallows are the Imperishable Stars. They give to 
this king Pepi this tree of life, whereof they live, that ye 
(Pepi and the Morning Star) may at the same time live 
thereof." 2 

But the most sinister enemies may contrive to deprive 
the king of the sustenance which we have seen to be so 
elaborately provided. They may even lurk in his own 
body, especially in his nostrils, where they may appro- 
priate the food intended for the king. 3 In this early age, 
however, enemies and dangers in the hereafter have not 
been multiplied by the priests as they were later in the 
Book of the Dead. There are precautions against them, 
like the dread name received by the king, a name so potent 
that his enemies all fear it and flee away. " Re calls thee 
in this thy name of which all the Glorious are afraid. 
Thy terror is against hearts like the terror of Re when he 
rises in the horizon." 4 Besides the name the dead king 
also receives a peculiar costume or a "recognizance," 
which at once distinguishes and protects him against at- 
tack from those who might mistake him for an enemy. 5 

1 This introduction of an Osirian incident here does not alter the 
clearly Solar character of the story, in which Pepi goes in search of 
the tree of life with the Morning Star, a Sun-god, carrying a spear 
of sunbeams. 2 Pyr. §§ 1209-16. 

* Pyr. § 484. 4 Pyr. § 2025. 5 Pyr. §§ 2044, 2004. 


Charms, as we have already shown, were among the equip- 
ment furnished by the Pyramid Texts, and not a few of 
these are of a protective character. The enemy against 
which these are most often directed in the Pyramid Texts 
is serpents. It was of course natural that the dead, who 
were buried in the earth, out of which serpents come 
forth, should be especially exposed to this danger. In the 
case of the king also, there was another reason. In the 
myth of Re, he was stung by a serpent and forced to re- 
veal his name to Isis. The departed Pharaoh who is 
identified with Re must necessarily meet the same danger, 
and from it he is protected by numerous serpent charms 
in the Pyramid Texts. In such charms it is quite in ac- 
cordance with the Solar tale to find Re invoked to exor- 
cise the dangerous reptile. "O serpent, turn back, for 
Re sees thee" were words which came very naturally to 
the lips of the Egyptian of this age. 1 While all the great 
goddesses of Egypt are said to extend their protection 
over the king, it is especially the Sky-goddess Nut who 
shields him from all harm. 2 

The men in whose hands the Pyramid Texts grew up 
took the greatest delight in elaborating and reiterating 
in ever new and different pictures the blessedness enjoyed 
by the king, thus protected, maintained, and honored in 
the Sun-god's realm. Their imagination flits from figure 
to figure, and picture to picture, and allowed to run like 
some wild tropical plant without control or guidance, 
weaves a complex fabric of a thousand hues which refuse 

1 Pyr. § 226; see also § 231 and other serpent charms in Ut. 226-237, 
240, 242 et al. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 443-7, 450-2, 484, 589, 681, and § 2107. Many of 
these are strongly colored by Osirian theology; indeed Ut. 443-7 
are largely Osirian, but the original character of Nut's functions in 
the celestial and Solar theology is clear. 


to merge into one harmonious or coherent whole. At one 
moment the king is enthroned in Oriental splendor as he 
was on earth, at another he wanders in the Field of Rushes 
in search of food; here he appears in the bow of the Solar 
barque, yonder he is one of the Imperishable Stars acting 
as the servant of Re. There is no endeavor to harmonize 
these inconsistent representations, although in the mass 
we gain a broad impression of the eternal felicity of a 
godlike ruler, "who puts his annals (the record of his 
deeds) among his people, and his love among the gods." l 
" The king ascends to the sky among the gods dwelling in 
the sky. He stands on the great r dais^, he hears (in 
judicial session) the (legal) affairs of men. Re finds thee 
upon the shores of the sky in this lake that is in Nut (the 
Sky-goddess). 'The arriver comes!' say the gods. He 
(Re) gives thee his arm on the stairway to the sky. ' He 
who knows his place comes,' say the gods. O Pure One, 
assume thy throne in the barque of Re and sail thou the 
sky. . . . Sail thou with the Imperishable Stars, sail thou 
with the Unwearied Stars. Receive thou the tribute 1 of 
the Evening Barque, become thou a spirit dwelling in 
Dewat. Live thou this pleasant life which the lord of 
the horizon lives." 2 "This king Pepi goes to the Field 
of Life, the birthplace of Re in the sky. He finds Kebe- 
het approaching him with these her four jars with which 
she refreshes the heart of the Great God (Re) on the day 
when he awakes (or 'by day when he awakes'). She 
refreshes the heart 3 of this king Pepi therewith to life, 
she purifies him, she cleanses him. He receives his pro- 
vision from that which is in the granary of the Great God; 

1 Pyr. § 1160. 2 Pyr. §§ 1169-72. 

3 Confer the reanimation of the heart of the dead Bata by the use 
of a jar of water in the Tale of the Two Brothers, infra, p. 359. 


he is clothed by the Imperishable Stars." l To Re and 
Thoth (the sun and the moon) the voice cries: "Take ye 
this king Unis with you that he may eat of that which ye 
eat, and that he may drink of that which ye drink, that 
he may live on that whereon ye live, that he may sit in 
that wherein ye sit, that he may be mighty by that 
whereby ye are mighty, that he may sail in that wherein 
ye sail. The booth of king Unis is plaited (erected) in 
the reeds, the pool of king Unis is in the Field of Offerings. 
His offering is among you, ye gods. The water of king 
Unis is wine like (that of) of Re. King Unis circles the 
Sky like Re, he traverses the sky like Thoth." 2 The 
voice summons the divine nourishment of the king: "Bring 
the milk of Isis for king Teti, the flood of Nephthys, the 
circuit of the lake, the waves of the sea, life, prosperity, 
health, happiness, bread, beer, clothing, food, that king 
Teti may live therefrom." 3 "Lo, the two who are on the 
throne of the Great God (Re), they summon this king 
Pepi to life and satisfaction forever; they (the two) are 
Prosperity and Health." 4 Thus " it is better with him 
to-day than yesterday," 5 and we hear the voice calling 
to him: "Ho! King Pepi, pure one! Re finds thee 
standing with thy mother Nut. She leads thee in the 
path of the horizon and thou makest thy abiding place 
there. How beautiful it is together with thy ka for ever 
and ever." 6 

Over and over again the story of the king's translation 
to the sky is brought before us with an indomitable con- 
viction and insistence which it must be concluded were 
thought to make the words of inevitable power and effect. 
Condensed into a paragraph the whole sweep of the king's 

1 Pyr. §§ 1180-2. 2 Pyr. §§ 128-130. 3 Pyr. § 707. 

4 Pyr. § 1190. 6 Pyr. § 122. 6 Pyr. § 2028. 


celestial career is brought before us in a few swift strokes, 
each like a ray of sunshine touching for but an instant 
the prominences of some far landscape across which we 
look. Long successions of such paragraphs crowd one 
behind another like the waves of the sea, as if to over- 
whelm and in their impetuous rush to bear away as on a 
flood the insistent fact of death and sweep it to utter 
annihilation. It is difficult to convey to the modern 
reader the impression made by these thousands of lines 
as they roll on in victorious disregard of the invincibility 
of death, especially in those epitomizations of the king's 
celestial career which are so frequent, the paragraphs here 
under discussion. In so far as they owe their impressive- 
ness to their mere bulk, built up like a bulwark against 
death, we can gain the impression only by reading the 
whole collection through. The general character of such 
individual epitomizing paragraphs is perhaps suggested by 
such as the following. The voice addresses the king: 
"Thy seats among the gods abide; Re leans upon thee 
with his shoulder. Thy odor is as their odor, thy sweat 
is as the sweat of the Eighteen Gods. Thou dawnest, O 
king Teti, in the royal hood; thy hand seizes the sceptre, 
thy fist grasps the mace. Stand, O king Teti, in front of 
the two palaces of the South and the North. Judge the 
gods, (for) thou art of the elders who surround Re, who 
are before the Morning Star. Thou art born at thy New 
Moons like the moon. Re leans upon thee in the horizon, 
O king Teti. The Imperishable Stars follow thee, the 
companions of Re serve thee, O king Teti. Thou purifiest 
thyself, thou ascendest to Re; the sky is not empty of 
thee, O king Teti, forever." 1 "King Teti purifies himself; 
he receives to himself his pure seat that is in the sky. He 

1 Pyr. §§730-3. 


abides, the beautiful seats of king Teti abide. He re- 
ceives to himself his pure seat that is in the barque of 
Re. The sailors who row Re, they (also) row king Teti. 
The sailors who carry Re around behind the horizon, they 
carry (also) king Teti around behind the horizon." l " O 
king Neferkere! the mouth of the earth opens to thee, 
Geb (the Earth-god) speaks to thee : ' Thou art great like a 
king, mighty like Re.' Thou purifiest thyself in the 
Jackal-lake, thou cleansest thyself in the lake of Dewat. 
'Welcome to thee,' say the Eighteen Gods. The eastern 
door of the sky is opened to thee by Yemen-kau; Nut has 
given to thee her arms, O king Neferkere, she of the long 
hair and pendent breasts. She guides thee to the sky, 
she does not put king Neferkere down (again) to the earth. 
She bears thee, O king Neferkere, like Orion ; she makes 
thy abiding place before the Double Palace (of Upper and 
Lower Egypt transferred to the sky). King Neferkere 
descends into the barque like Re, on the shores of the 
Lily-lake. King Neferkere is rowed by the Unwearied 
Stars, he commands the Imperishable Stars." 2 

Such in the main outlines were the beliefs held by the 
Egyptian of the Old Kingdom (2980-2475 B. C.) concern- 
ing the Solar hereafter. There can bo no doubt that at 
some time they were a fairly well-defined group, separable 
as a group from those of the Osirian faith. To the Osirian 
faith, moreover, they were opposed, and evidences of 
their incompatibility, or even hostility, have survived. 
We find it said of Re that " he has not given him (the king) 
to Osiris, he (the king) has not died the death; he has 
become a Glorious One in the horizon"; 3 and still more 
unequivocal is the following: "Re-Atum does not give 
thee to Osiris. He (Osiris) numbers not thy heart, he 

1 Pyr. Ut. 407. 2 Pyr. §§ 2169-73. 3 Pyr. § 350. 


gains not power over thy heart. Re-Atum gives thee 
not to Horus (son of Osiris). He numbers not thy heart, 
he gains not power over thy heart. Osiris! thou hast 
not gained power over him, thy son (Horus) has not gained 
power over him. Horus! thou hast not gained power 
over him, thy father (Osiris) has not gained power over 
him." l It is evident that to the devotee of the Solar 
faith, Osiris once represented the realm and the dominion 
of death, to which the follower of Re was not delivered 
up. In harmony with this is the apprehension that the 
entire Osirian group might enter the pyramid with evil 
intent. As a great Solar symbol it was necessary to pro- 
tect the pyramid from the possible aggressions of Osiris, 
the Osirian Horus, and the other divinities of the Osirian 
group. 2 At a very early age the beliefs of both the Solar 
and the Osirian religion merged as we have seen in the 
first lecture. While the nucleus of each group of myths 
is fairly distinguishable from the other, the coalescence 
of the Solar and Osirian conceptions of the hereafter has 
left us a very difficult process of analysis if we undertake 
to separate them. There is a certain body of beliefs re- 
garding the hereafter which we may designate as Solar, 
and another group which are unquestionably Osirian, 
but the two faiths have so interpenetrated each other 
that there is much neutral territory which we cannot 
assign to either, to the entire exclusion of the other. It 
is clear that in the Solar faith we have a state theology, 
with all the splendor and the prestige of its royal patrons 
behind it; while in that of Osiris we are confronted by a 
religion of the people, which made a strong appeal to the 
individual believer. It is not impossible that the history 
of the early sequence of these beliefs was thus: We 
1 Pyr. §§ 145-6. 2 See above, p. 75. 


should begin with a primitive belief in a subterranean 
kingdom of the dead which claimed all men. As an ex- 
clusive privilege of kings at first, and then of the great 
and noble, the glorious celestial hereafter which we have 
been discussing, finally emerged as a Solar kingdom of 
the dead. When the growing prestige of Osiris had dis- 
placed the older mortuary gods (like Anubis) Osiris be- 
came the great lord of the Nether World, and Osiris and 
his realm entered into competition with the Solar and 
celestial hereafter. In the mergence of these two faiths 
we discern for the first time in history the age-long struggle 
between the state form of religion and the popular faith 
of the masses. It will be the purpose of the next lecture 
to disengage as far as may be the nucleus of the Osirian 
teaching of the after life, and to trace the still undeter- 
mined course of its struggle with the imposing celestial 
theology whose doctrine of the royal dead we have been 



Probably nothing in the life of the ancient Nile- 
dwellers commends them more appealingly to our sym- 
pathetic consideration than the fact that when the 
Osirian faith had once developed, it so readily caught 
the popular imagination as to spread rapidly among all 
classes. It thus came into active competition with the 
Solar faith of the court and state priesthoods. This was 
especially true of its doctrines of the after life, in the prog- 
ress of which we can discern the gradual Osirianization 
of Egyptian religion, and especially of the Solar teaching 
regarding the hereafter. 

There is nothing in the Osiris myth, nor in the character 
or later history of Osiris, to suggest a celestial hereafter. 
Indeed clear and unequivocal survivals from a period 
when he was hostile to the celestial and Solar dead are 
still discoverable in the Pyramid Texts. We recall the 
exorcisms intended to restrain Osiris and his kin from en- 
tering the pyramid, a Solar tomb, with evil intent (p. 75). l 
Again we find the dead king as a star in the sky, thus ad- 
dressed: "Thou lookest down upon Osiris commanding 
the Glorious (=the dead). There thou standest, being 
far from him, (for) thou art not of them (the dead), thou 
belongest not among them." 2 Likewise it is said of the 
Sun-god: "He has freed king Teti from Kherti, he has 

iPyr. §§1266-7. 2 Pyr. §251. 



not given him to Osiris." l It is perhaps due to an effort 
to overcome this difficulty that Horus, the son of Osiris, 
is represented as one "who puts not this Pepi over the 
dead, he puts him among the gods, he being divine." 2 
The prehistoric Osiris faith, probably local to the Delta, 
thus involved a forbidding hereafter which was dreaded 
and at the same time was opposed to celestial blessedness 
beyond. To be sure, the Heliopolitan group of gods, the 
Divine Ennead of that city, makes Osiris a child of Nut, 
the Sky-goddess. But his father was the Earth-god Geb, 
a very natural result of the character of Osiris as a Nile- 
god and a spirit of vegetable life, both of which in Egyptian 
belief came out of the earth. Moreover, the celestial 
destiny through Nut the Sky-goddess is not necessarily 
Osirian. It is found, along with the frequent and non- 
Osirian or even pre-Osirian co-ordination of Horus and 
Set, associated in the service of the dead. 3 The appear- 
ance of these two together assisting the dead cannot be 
Osirian. 4 To be protected and assisted by Nut, therefore, 
does not necessarily imply that she is doing this for the 
dead king, because he is identified with Osiris, her son. It 
is thus probable that as a Sky-goddess intimately associ- 
ated with Re, Nut's functions in the celestial life here- 
after were originally Solar and at first not connected with 
the Osirian faith. 

When Osiris migrated up the Nile from the Delta, we 
recall how he was identified with one of the old mortuary 
gods of the South, the "First of the Westerners" (Khenti- 
Amentiu), and his kingdom was conceived as situated 
in the West, or below the western horizon, where it merged 
into the Nether World. He became king of a realm of 

1 Pyr. § 350. 2 Pyr. § 969. 

3 Pyr. Ut. 443. 4 See infra, pp. 152-3. 


the dead below the earth, and hence his frequent title, 
"Lord of Dewat," the "Nether World," which occurs 
even in the Pyramid Texts. 1 It is as lord of a subter- 
ranean kingdom of the dead that Osiris later appears. 2 

1 Pyr. § 8 d. 

2 The situation of Dewat is a difficult problem. As the Nile flows 
out of it, according to later texts, especially the Sun-hymns, and the 
common designation of the universe in the Empire is "sky, earth, 
and Dewat," it is evident that it was later understood to be the 
Nether World. Such is the conclusion of Sethe in his still unpub- 
lished Antrittsvorlesung. See also Jequier, Le livre de ce quHl y a 
dans V Hades, Paris, 1894, especially pp. 3-6; also Lefebure, in 
Sphinx, vol. I, pp. 27-46. In the Pyramid Texts it is evidently in 
the sky in a considerable number of passages. It can be under- 
stood in no other way in passages where it is parallel with "sky," 
like the following: 

Or again: 

The sky conceived thee together with Orion; 
Dewat bears thee together with Orion." 

(Pyr. § 820= the same in Pyr. § 1527.) 

Who voyages the sky with Orion, 
Who sails Dewat with Osiris." 

(Pyr. §882.) 

Similarly "Dewat seizes thy hand, (leads thee) to the place where 
Orion ( = the sky) (Pyr. § 802) ; and Orion and Sothis in +he " horizon " 
are encircled by Dewat (Pyr. § 151). Here Dewat is in the horizon, 
and likewise we find the dead "descends among" the dwellers in 
Dewat after he has ascended to the sky (Pyr. § 2084 c). It was thus 
sufficiently accessible from the sky, so that the dead, after he as- 
cended, bathed in the " lake of Dewat" (Pyr. § 1164), and while in 
the sky he became a "glorious one dwelling in Dewat" (Pyr. 
§ 1172 b). When he has climbed the ladder of Re, Horus and Set 
take him to Dewat (Pyr. § 390). It is parallel with 'kr, where 'kr is a 
variant of Geb, the earth (Pyr. § 1014 = § 796), which carries it down 
to earth again. It might appear here that Dewat was a lower re- 
gion of the sky, in the vicinity of the horizon, below which it also 
extended. It is notable that in the Coffin Texts of the Middle 
Kingdom there appears a "lower Dewat" (Lacau, Rec. 27, 218, 1. 47). 
The deceased says: "My place is in the barque of Re in the middle 
of lower Dewat" (ibid., 1. 52). Dewat thus merged into the Nether 
World, with which it was ultimately identified, or, being originally 
the Nether World, it had its counterpart in the sky. 


As there was nothing then in the myth or the offices of 
Osiris to carry him to the sky, so the simplest of the 
Osirian Utterances in the Pyramid Texts do not carry 
him thither. There are as many varying pictures of the 
Osirian destiny as in the Solar theology. We find the 
dead king as a mere messenger of Osiris announcing the 
prosperous issue and plentiful yield of the year, the 
harvest year, which is associated with Osiris. 1 That 
group of incidents in the myth which proves to be espe- 
cially available in the future career of the dead king is 
his relations with Horus, the son of Osiris, and the filial 
piety displayed by the son toward his father. We may 
find the dead king identified with Horus and marching 
forth in triumph from Buto, with his mother, Isis, before 
him and Nephthys behind him, while Upwawet opened 
the way for them. 2 More often, however, the dead king 
does all that Osiris did, receiving heart and limbs as did 
Osiris, 3 or becoming Osiris himself. This was the favorite 
belief of the Osiris faith. The king became Osiris and 
rose from the dead as Osiris did. 4 This identity began at 
birth and is described in the Pyramid Texts with all the 
wonders and prodigies of a divine birth. 

"The waters of life that are in the sky come; 
The waters of life that are in the earth come. 
The sky burns for thee, 
The earth trembles for thee, 
Before the divine birth. 
The two mountains divide, 
The god becomes, 

iPyr. §§1195#. 

2 Pyr. §§ 1089-90; §§ 1373-5. Both these passages merge into an 
ascension of Solar character. 

3 Pyr. § 364, followed by celestial ascent and association with Re. 

4 Pyr. Ut. 373. 


The god takes possession of his body. 

The two mountains divide, 

This king Neferkere becomes, 

This king Neferkere takes possession of his body." 

Osiris as Nile is thus born between the two mountains of 
the eastern and western Nile shores, and in the same way, 
and as the same being, the king is born. 1 Hence we find 
the king appearing elsewhere as the inundation. 2 It is 
not the mere assumption of the form of Osiris, 3 but com- 
plete identity with him, which is set forth in this doctrine 
of the Pyramid Texts. "As he (Osiris) lives, this king 
Unis lives; as he dies not, this king Unis dies not; as he 
perishes not, this king Unis perishes not." These assev- 
erations are repeated over and over, and addressed to 
every god in the Ennead, that each may be called upon 
to witness their truth. Osiris himself under various names 
is adjured, "Thy body is the body of this king Unis, thy 
flesh is the flesh of this king Unis, thy bones are the bones 
of this king Unis." 4 Thus the dead king receives the 
throne of Osiris, and becomes, like him, king of the dead. 
"Ho! king Neferkere (Pepi II)! How beautiful is this! 
How beautiful is this, which thy father Osiris has done 
for thee! He has given thee his throne, thou rulest those 
of the hidden places (the dead), thou leadest their august 
ones, all the glorious ones follow thee." 5 

The supreme boon which this identity of the king with 
Osiris assured the dead Pharaoh was the good offices of 
Horus, the personification of filial piety. All the pious 

1 Pyr. §§ 2063-5. 2 Pyr. §§ 507-9. 

3 Pyr. § 1804. 4 Pyr. Ut. 219. 

6 Pyr. §§ 2022-3. There is little distinction between the passages 
where the dead king receives the throne of Osiris, because identified 
with him and others in which he receives it as the heir of Osiris. 
He may take it even from Horus, heir of Osiris, e. g., Pyr. Ut. 414. 


attentions which Osiris had once enjoyed at the hands of 
his son Horus now likewise become the king's portion. 
The litigation which the myth recounts at Heliopolis is 
successfully met by the aid of Horus, as well as Thoth, 
and, like Osiris, the dead king receives the predicate 
"righteous of voice," or "justified," an epithet which was 
later construed as meaning "triumphant." 1 Over and 
over again the resurrection of Osiris by Horus, and the 
restoration of his body, are likewise affirmed to be the 
king's privilege. " Horus collects for thee thy limbs that 
he may put thee together without any lack in thee." 2 
Horus then champions his cause, as he had done that of 
his father, till the dead king gains the supreme place as 
sovereign of all. "O Osiris king Teti, arise! Horus 
comes that he may reclaim thee from the gods. Horus 
loves thee, he has equipped thee with his eye. . . . Horus 
has opened for thee thy eye that thou mayest see with it. 
. . . The gods . . . they love thee. Isis and Nephthys 
have healed thee. Horus is not far from thee; thou art 
his ka. Thy face is gracious unto him. . . . Thou hast 
received the word of Horus, thou art satisfied therewith. 
Hearken unto Horus, he has caused the gods to serve 
thee. . . . Horus has found thee that there is profit for 
him in thee. Horus sends up to thee the gods; he has 
given them to thee that they may illuminate thy face. 
Horus has placed thee at the head of the gods. He has 
caused thee to take every crown. . . . Horus has seized 
for thee the gods. They escape not from thee, from the 
place where thou hast gone. Horus counts for thee the 
gods. They retreat not from thee, from the place which 
thou hast seized. . . . Horus avenged thee; it was not 
long till he avenged thee. Ho, Osiris king Teti ! thou art 
1 Pyr. Ut. 260. See above, p. 35. 2 Pyr. § 635. 


a mighty god, there is no god like thee. Horus has given 
to thee his children that they might carry thee. He has 
given to thee all gods that they may serve thee, and thou 
have power over them." x A long series of Utterances in 
the Pyramid Texts sets forth this championship of the 
dead king as Osiris by his son Horus. 2 In all this there 
is little or no trace of the celestial destiny, or any indica- 
tion of the place where the action occurs. Such incidents 
and such Utterances are appropriated from the Osirian 
theology and myth, with little or no change. But the 
Osirian doctrine of the hereafter, absorbed into these 
royal mortuary texts by the priesthood of Heliopolis, 
could not, in spite of its vigorous popularity, resist the 
prestige of the state (or Solar) theology. Even in the 
Osirian Utterances on the good offices of Horus just men- 
tioned we twice find the dead king, although he is assumed 
to be Osiris, thus addressed: "Thou art a Glorious One 
(Y'hwty) in thy name of 'Horizon (Y'ht) from which Re 
comes forth.' " 3 The Osirian hereafter was thus celestial- 
ized, as had been the Osirian theology when it was cor- 
related with that of Heliopolis. We find the Sky-goddess 
Nut extending to the Osirian dead her protection and the 
privilege of entering her realm. Nut "takes him to the 
sky, she does not cast him down to the earth." 4 The 
ancient hymn in praise of the Sky-goddess embedded in 
the Pyramid Texts 5 has received an introduction, in which 
the king as Osiris is commended to her protection, and 
the hymn is broken up by petitions inserted at intervals 
craving a celestial destiny for the dead king, although 
this archaic hymn had originally no demonstrable con- 

1 Pyr. Ut. 364. See also 1683-6. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 356, 357, 364, 367-372. 

3 Pyr. § 621 = § 636. 4 Pyr. § 1345. e Pyr. Ut. 427-435. 


nection with Osiris, and was, as far as any indication it 
contains is concerned, written before the priestly theology 
had made Osiris the son of the Sky-goddess. 1 Similarly 
Anubis, the ancient mortuary god of Siut, "counts 
Osiris away from the gods belonging to the earth, to the 
gods dwelling in the sky"; 2 and we find in the Pyramid 
Texts the anomalous ascent of Osiris to the sky: "The 
sky thunders (lit. speaks), earth trembles, for fear of thee, 
Osiris, when thou makest ascent. Ho, mother cows 
yonder! Ho, suckling mothers (cows) yonder! Go ye 
behind him, weep for him, hail him, acclaim him, when he 
makes ascent and goes to the sky among his brethren, 
the gods." 3 His transition to the Solar and celestial 
destiny is effected in one passage by a piece of purely 
mortuary theologizing which represents Re as raising 
Osiris from the dead. 4 Thus is Osiris celestialized until 
the Pyramid Texts even call him "lord of the sky," 5 and 
represent him as ruling there. The departed Pharaoh is 
ferried over, the doors of the sky are opened for him, he 
passes all enemies as he goes, and he is announced to 
Osiris in the sky precisely as in the Solar theology. There 
he is welcomed by Osiris, 6 and he joins the "Imperishable 
Stars, the followers of Osiris," 7 just as in the Solar faith. 
In the same way he emerges as a god of primeval origin 
and elemental powers. "Thou bearest the sky in thy 
hand, thou layest down the earth with thy foot." 8 ^ Ce- 
lestials and men acclaim the dead, even "thy wind is in- 
cense, thy north wind is smoke, " 9 say they. 

While the Heliopolitan priests thus solarized and celes- 

1 The protection and assistance of Nut are further elaborated in 
Ut. 444-7 and 450-2. 

2 Pyr. § 1523. 3 Pyr. Ut. 337. 4 Pyr. § 721. 

^ Pyr. §§964,968. ° Pyr ' ! 222°* 

» Pyr. § 749. 8 Pyr. § 2067. 9 Pyr. § 877. 


tialized the Osirian mortuary doctrines, although they 
were essentially terrestrial in origin and character, these 
Solar theologians were in their turn unable to resist the 
powerful influence which the popularity of the Osirian faith 
brought to bear upon them. The Pyramid Texts were 
eventually Osirianized, and the steady progress of this 
process, exhibiting the course of the struggle between the 
Solar faith of the state temples and the popular beliefs 
of the Osirian religion thus discernible in the Pyramid 
Texts, is one of the most remarkable survivals from the 
early world, preserving as it does the earliest example of 
such a spiritual and intellectual conflict between state 
and popular religion. The dying Sun and the dying Osi- 
ris are here in competition. With the people the human 
Osiris makes the stronger appeal, and even the wealthy 
and subsidized priesthoods of the Solar religion could not 
withstand the power of this appeal. What we have op- 
portunity to observe in the Pyramid Texts is specifically 
the gradual but irresistible intrusion of Osiris into the 
Solar doctrines of the hereafter and their resulting Osi- 

Even on his coffin, preserved in the pyramid sepulchre, 
the departed king is called "Osiris, lord of Dewat." l The 
Osirian influence is superficially evident in otherwise purely 
Solar Utterances of the Pyramid Texts where the Osirian 
editor has inserted the epithet "Osiris" before the king's 
name, so that we have " Osiris king Unis," or "Osiris king 
Pepi." 2 This was at first so mechanically done that in 
the offering ritual it was placed only at the head of each 
Utterance. In the earliest of our five versions of the 
Pyramid Texts, that of Unis, we find "Osiris" inserted 
before the king's name wherever that name stands at the 

1 Pyr. § 8 d. » Pyr> Ut< 578 and 579> 


head of the Utterance, but not where it is found in the 
body of the text. Evidently the Osirian editor ran hastily 
and mechanically through the sections, inserting " Osiris " 
at the head of each one which began with the king's name, 
but not taking the trouble to go through each section 
seeking the king's name and to insert "Osiris" wherever 
necessary in the body of the text also. 1 

In this way the whole Offering Ritual was Osirianized 
in Unis's pyramid, but the editor ceased this process of 
mechanical insertion at the end of the ritual. A similar 
method may be observed where the same Utterance hap- 
pens to be preserved in two different pyramids, one ex- 
hibiting the mechanical insertion of "Osiris" before the 
king's name, while the other lacks such editing. This is 
especially significant where the content of the Utterances 
is purely Solar. 2 

But the Osirianization of the Pyramid Texts involves 
more than such mechanical alteration of externals. We 
find one Utterance 3 in its old Solar form, without a single 
reference to Osiris or to Osirian doctrine, side by side with 
the same Utterance in expanded form filled with Osirian 
elements. The traces of the Osirian editor's work are evi- 
dent throughout, but they are interestingly demonstrable 

1 "Osiris Unis" occurs in the body of the Utterance in 18 c (once) 
and 30 b (once) ; but the following references will show how regu- 
larly it is found at the head of the Utterance and not in the body 
of the text in the pyramid of Unis. In Ut. 45-49, once each at 
beginning; in Ut. 72-76 and 78-79, once each at beginning; omitted 
in Ut. 77, 81, and 93, where Unis's name does not begin the Utter- 
ance. In Ut. 84, 85, 87-92, 94, 108-171, and 199 " Osiris-Unis " 
heads each Utterance. After Ut. 200 " Osiris-Unis" does not occur 
at all. It is evident that this mechanical method of Osirianization 
did not extend beyond the Offering Ritual, which also terminates 
at this place. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 579 and 673. 3 Pyr. Ut. 571. 


in a series of five stanzas each addressed to a different god, 
whose name begins the stanza. The last stanza of the five 
begins with two gods' names, however, the second being 
"Sekhem, son of Osiris," although in the apostrophe, 
which constitutes this fifth stanza, the two gods are ad- 
dressed by pronouns in the singular number! It is evi- 
dent that, like the other four stanzas, the fifth also began 
with the name of a single god, but that the Osirian editor 
has inserted the name of an Osirian god as a second name, 
forgetting to change the pronouns. 1 The insertion is 
enhanced in significance by the fact that all five gods 
in these five stanzas are Solar gods, and the last one, 
after which the name of Osiris was inserted, is identified 
with Re. 

The process was carried so far that it was sometimes 
applied to passages totally at variance with the Osirian 
doctrine. In the old Solar teaching we not infrequently 
find Horus and Set side by side on an equal basis, and 
both represented as engaged in some beneficent act for 
the dead. 2 Now when the dead king is identified with 
Osiris, by the insertion of the name "Osiris" before that 
of the king, we are confronted by the extraordinary as- 
sumption that Set performs pious mortuary offices for Osi- 
ris, although the Osiris myth represents Set as mutilating 
the body of the dead Osiris and scattering his limbs far 
and wide. Thus an old purification ceremony in the pres- 
ence of the gods and nobles of Heliopolis (and hence 
clearly Solar) represents the dead as cleansed by the 
spittle of Horus and the spittle of Set. This ceremony 

1 Pyr. Ut. 570. 

2 See above, pp. 40/. The best examples are: Pyr. §§204, 206, 
370, 390, 418, 473, 487, 594, 535, 601, 683, 798, 801 = §§ 1016, 823, 
848-850, 946, 971, 1148. 


had, of course, nothing to do with the Osirian ritual, but 
when the ritual introducing this ceremony was Osirian- 
ized, we find "King Osiris, this Pepi" inserted before the 
formula of purification, thus assuming that Osiris was 
purified by his arch-enemy, the foul Set! l Similarly, Set 
may appear alone in old Solar Utterances on familiar and 
friendly terms with the dead king, so that the king may 
be addressed thus: "He calls to thee on the stairway of 
the sky; thou ascendest to the god; Set fraternizes with 
thee," even though the king has just been raised as Osiris 
from the dead ! 2 

The ladder leading to the sky was originally an element 
of the Solar faith. That it had nothing to do with Osiris 
is evident, among other things, from the fact that one ver- 
sion of the ladder episode represents it in charge of Set. 3 
The Osirianization of the ladder episode is clearly trace- 
able in four versions of it, which are but variants of the 
same ancient original. 4 The four represent a period of 
nearly a century, at least of some eighty-five years. In 
the oldest form preserved to us, in the pyramid of Unis, 5 
dating from the middle of the twenty-seventh century, 
the Utterance opens with the acclamation of the gods as 
Unis ascends. " ' How beautiful to see, how satisfying to 
behold,' say the gods, 'when this god ascends to the 
sky, when Unis ascends to the sky. . . .' The gods in 
the sky and the gods on earth come to him; they make 
supports for Unis on their arm. Thou ascendest, O Unis, 

1 Pyr §§ 848-850. * Pyr> § 1016> 

3 Pyr. §478; compare also "Set lifts him (the dead) up" (Pyr. 
§ 1148). In Pyr. § 1253 we find "ladder which carried the Ombite 

4 Pyr. Ut. 306 (Unis, Mernere, Pepi II), 480 (Teti), 572 (Pepi, 
Mernere), 474 (Pepi). 

6 Pyr. Ut. 306. 


to the sky. Ascend upon it in this its name of ' Ladder.' 
The sky is given to Unis, the earth is given to him by 
Atum." Such is the essential substance of the Utterance. 1 
The ladder here barely emerges and the climber is the 
Pharaoh himself, though Atum is prominent. A genera- 
tion later, in the pyramid of Teti the ladder is more de- 
veloped and the original climber is Atum, the Sun-god; 
but the Osirian goddesses, Isis and Nephthys, are intro- 
duced. Finally, in the pyramid of Pepi I, at least eighty- 
five years after that of Unis, the opening acclamation of 
the old gods as they behold the ascent of the Pharaoh is 
put into the mouths of Isis and Nephthys, and the climber 
has become Osiris. 2 Thus Osiris has taken possession of 
the old Solar episode and appropriated the old Solar text. 
This has taken place in spite of embarrassing complica- 
tions. In harmony with the common co-ordination of 
Horus and Set in the service of the dead, an old Solar 
doctrine represented them as assisting him at the ascent 
of the ladder which Re and Horus set up. But when the 
ascending king becomes Osiris, the editor seems quite un- 
conscious of the incongruity, as Set, the mortal enemy and 
slayer of Osiris, assists him to reach his celestial abode ! 3 
Nowhere is the intrusion of Osiris in the Pyramid Texts 
more striking than in the Utterances devoted to the ser- 
vices of the four Eastern Horuses on behalf of the dead. 
A favorite means of ascension, of opening the sky-gates, 

1 The brief intimation of a mysterious enemy plotting against the 
life of the king, appended at the end of the Utterance, is perhaps an 
intrusive Osirian reference; but it does not affect the clearly celestial 
and Solar character of the Utterance. It is omitted in Ut. 480, but 
appears more fully developed in the Osirianized Utterances 572 and 
474, but in none of the Utterances to which it is appended is the 
name of Osiris mentioned, while the epithet which is employed, 
"Ymnw (Hidden one?) of the Wild Bull," is usually Solar. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 474. 3 Pyr. Ut. 305. 


of ferrying over, of purification and the like, was to have 
all these things first done for each of the four Horuses in 
succession, and then by sympathetic inevitability also for 
the dead king. Four considerable Utterances are built 
up in this way, each containing an account of the things 
done by each of the four Horuses, and then likewise by 
the king. 1 

In the oldest form of these Utterances, as found in the 
pyramid of Teti, the quartette comprise the following: 

1. Horus of the Gods. 

2. Horus of the Horizon (Harakhte). 

3. Horus of the Shesmet. 

4. Horus of the East. 2 

The exclusively Solar character of each of these Ho- 
ruses is evident from the connections in which they ap- 
pear in the Pyramid Texts, while in the case of two of 
them (Horus of the Horizon and Horus of the East) the 
name renders it evident. Indeed, in the Teti pyramid 
the four appear as heralds announcing the name of Teti 
to the Sun-god, in a passage which is hostile to Osiris, and 
affirms that the Sun-god "has not given him (the king) 

1 These Utterances are 325, 563, 479, and 573. In Ut. 573 variant 
forms of their names appear. In 1085-6 the four Horuses appear 
ferrying over on the two floats of the sky; they are found again in 
1105 and in 1206, "these four youths who stand on the east side of 
the sky" bind the two floats for Re and then for the dead. We 
should doubtless recognize them also in the four curly haired youths 
who are in charge of the ferry-boat to the eastern sky in Ut. 520. 
(But in Ut. 522 the four in charge of the ferry-boat are the four 
genii, the "sons of Horus," and confusion must be guarded against.) 
The four Horuses in 1258 (Ut. 532), who are identified with the 
dead and kept from decay by Isis and Nephthys, are treated above. 
For the sake of completeness, compare the four children of Geb in 
Pyr. §§ 1510-11, and especially the four children of Atum who decay 
not (Pyr. §§2057-8), just as in 1258. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 325 and 563. 


to Osiris." l Two generations after Teti we find the same 
four Horuses, unaltered, 2 side by side with a further devel- 
opment of the group exhibiting an intruder; it appears 

1. Horus of the Gods. 

2. Horus of the East. 

3. Horus of the Shesmet. 

4. Osiris. 3 

Osiris has thus pushed his way into this Solar group to 
the displacement of the most unequivocally Solar of them 
all, Horus of the Horizon (Harakhte). The intrusion of 
Osiris here is the most convincing example of his power, 
and the most clearly discernible in the whole range of 
the process which Osirianized the Pyramid Texts. We 
can now understand why it is that when the dead is iden- 
tified with the four Horuses, he is preserved from decay 
by Isis and Nephthys as the four Horuses had been like- 
wise preserved by the same Osirian goddesses. When 
once the group has been Osirianized it is to be expected 
that they shall enjoy the good offices of the wife and 
sister of Osiris. 4 The exclusion of one of the four Horuses, 
by the intrusion of Osiris, leaving really only three, is 
doubtless the reason why we find in another Osirianized 
Utterance that only three of them appear. 5 

As the four Solar Horuses of the East were Osirianized, 
so in all probability were the four mortuary genii, com- 
monly known as the "four sons of Horus." We find this 
second four (whom we shall call the four genii to distin- 
guish them from the four Solar Horuses) figuring promi- 
nently in the ascension. Indeed they make^the ladder, 
which is a purely celestial and Solar matter, as we have 

1 Pyr. § 348. 2 Pyr. Ut. 563. 3 Pyr. Ut. 479. 

4 Pyr. Ut. 532. 6 Pyr. §§ 1132-8. 


seen (p. Ill), and they make it together with Atum, the 
primeval Sun-god. Similarly we find them all in a list 
of Solar gods, 1 and they appear also in charge of the 
Solar ferry-boat, 2 in which they ferry over the dead. 3 
The four Horuses also have much to do with the celes- 
tial ferry, and it would appear, though this is merely a 
conjecture, that the four genii are an artificial creation 
parallel with the four Horuses, and perhaps their sons. 4 
In any case the dead may be identified with one of them 
as with the four Horuses. 5 The four genii were, however, 
fully Osirianized, they avenge Osiris and smite Set, 6 and 
they carry the body of the dead king as Osiris. 7 In the 
later mortuary ritual of the Osirian faith they played a 
prominent role, and are especially well known as the four 
genii who had charge of the viscera of the dead, which 
they protect in the hereafter in the four so-called "Ca- 
nopic" jars, each one of which is surmounted by the head 
of one of the four genii. This function in the Osirian 
faith is foreshadowed in the Pyramid Texts in a passage 
where we find them expelling hunger and thirst from the 
belly and lips of the dead. 8 

As the four Horuses and the four genii, who had so 
mu h to do with the ascension and the celestial ferry, were 
Osirianized, so eventually was the ancient Solar ferry- 
man "Face-Behind-Him," who receives the title "Door- 
keeper of Osiris" and the Solar ferry becomes the prop- 

\ Pyr. §§ 147-9. 2 Pyr. Ut. 522. 3 Pyr. § 1092. 

4 1 am aware that the four genii are called "the offspring of Horus 
of Letopolis" (Pyr. §2078). 

6 Pyr. § 1483. 6 Pyr. Ut. 541. 

7 Pyr. Ut. 544-6, 645, 648. We find them bringing to the dead 
his name "Imperishable," at which time they are called the "souls" 
of Horus (Pyr. §2102). 

8 Pyr. § 552. 


erty of Osiris, to whom the ferryman is adjured to say, 
"Let this thy (Osiris's) ship be brought for this king 
Pepi." ! The two floats of reeds suffered much the same 
fate. These, as we have seen (p. 108), are clearly Solar when 
they first appear. 2 Indeed, in the pyramid of Teti they 
are found in an Utterance 3 explicitly hostile to Osiris, in 
which it is stated that the Sun-god does not deliver the 
dead king to Osiris. Nevertheless the reed floats are also 
completely Osirianized in the Pyramid Texts. We find 
them laid down for Osiris, by the gods of the cardinal 
points, in an Utterance purely Osirian in character, 4 and 
within a century after they appear still purely Solar in 
the pyramid of Unis, they were employed in that of 
Pepi I for the crossing of Osiris. 5 

If the ladder, the ferry-boat, and the reed floats, the in- 
strumentalities for reaching the skies, a place with which 
Osiris had properly nothing to do, were thus early Osirian- 
ized, we cannot wonder that the sky itself and its deni- 
zens were likewise appropriated by Osiris till the "Im- 
perishable Stars" are called "followers of Osiris." In the 
same way, when the king is born, like Osiris, as Nile, 6 we 
may find him transferred to the sky and flooding the 
heavens as the Nile inundation; he makes all the sky 
fresh and verdant. " King Unis comes to his pools that 
are in the region of the flood at the great inundation, to 
the place of peace with green fields, that is in the hori- 
zon. Unis makes the verdure to flourish in the two re- 
gions of the horizon." 7 Finally Osiris is not only identi- 
fied with the dead king, but also even with his temple 
and pyramid, 8 the great Solar symbol, from which these 

" Pyr. § 1201. 2 Pyr. Ut. 263-6. 3 Pyr. Ut. 264. 

4 Pyr. Ut. 303. B Pyr. § 556. 6 Pyr. §§ 2063-5. 

'Pyr. §§ 508-9. 8 Pyr. §§ 1657-8. 


same Pyramid Texts contain formulae for exorcising Osiris 
and his kin (see p. 75). l 

An important link between the celestial and the Osirian 
doctrine of the hereafter was the fact that the Sun-god 
died every day in the west. There was at Abydos, as 
we have already seen (p. 38), an old mortuary god 
known as "First of the Westerners/' who was early ab- 
sorbed by Osiris, so that "First of the Westerners" be- 
came an epithet appended to the name of Osiris. Before 
this conquest by Osiris took place, however, the " First of 
the Westerners" as a local god of Abydos had already be- 
come involved in the celestial hereafter. An ancient Aby- 
dos offering formulary preserved in the Pyramid Texts 
addresses the dead thus: "The earth is hacked up for 
thee, the offering is placed before thee. Thou goest upon 
that way whereon the gods go. Turn thee that thou 
mayest see this offering which the king has made for 
thee, which the First of the Westerners has made for 
thee. Thou goest to those northern gods, the Imperish- 
able Stars." 2 It is evident that the First of the West- 
erners is closely associated with the celestial hereafter in 
this passage. Later, when Osiris was identified with the 
First of the Westerners, the latter's connection with the 
celestial hereafter will have assisted in celestializing the 
Osirian mortuary beliefs. 

Now, while all this also resulted in Osirianizing the ce- 
lestial and Solar mortuary teachings, they still remained 
celestial. When the dead Osiris is taken up by Re, 3 it 
is evident that Re's position in these composite mortuary 
doctrines is still the chief one. The fact remains, then, 
that the celestial doctrines of the hereafter dominate the 
Pyramid Texts throughout, and the later subterranean 

1 Pyr. § § 1266-7. 2 Pyr. Ut. 441. 3 Pyr. § 819. 


kingdom of Osiris and Re's voyage through it are still 
entirely in the background in these royal mortuary teach- 
ings. Among the people Re is later, as it were, dragged 
into the Nether World to illumine there the subjects of 
Osiris in his mortuary kingdom, and this is one of the 
most convincing evidences of the power of Osiris among 
the lower classes. In the royal and state temple theology, 
Osiris is lifted to the sky, and while he is there Solar- 
ized, we have just shown how he also tinctures the Solar 
teaching of the celestial kingdom of the dead with Osirian 
doctrines. The result was thus inevitable confusion, as 
the two faiths interpenetrated. 

In both faiths we recall that the king is identified with 
the god, and hence we find him unhesitatingly called Osiris 
and Re in the same passage. The following extensive 
passages well illustrate the often inextricable confusion 
resulting from the interweaving of these unharmonized 
elements. The text opens with the resurrection of Osiris 
at the hands of Horus, but we soon perceive that this 
incident has been engrafted upon ancient Solar doctrines. 
"Arise for me, O king. Arise for me, O Osiris king Mer- 
nere. I am he, I am thy son, I am Horus. I come to 
thee, I purify thee, I make thee alive, I gather for thee 
thy bones. . . . For I am Horus, thy avenger. I have 
smitten for thee him who smote thee. I have avenged 
thee, king Osiris Mernere, on him who did thee evil. I 
have come to thee with a commission of Heru. He has 
put thee, king Osiris Mernere, upon the throne of Re- 
Atum, that thou mayest lead the people. Thou em- 
barkest in this barque of Re, to which the gods love to 
descend, in which they love to embark, in which Re is 
rowed to the horizon. Thou embarkest therein like Re, 
thou sittest down on this throne of Re that thou mayest 


command the gods. For thou art Re who came forth 
from Nut, who begets Re every day. This Mernere is 
born every day like Re." Then follows a picture of en- 
thronement and felicity in the realm of Re, in which there 
is no reference to Osiris. It then proceeds: "They (the 
'two great gods who are in charge of the Field of Rushes') 
recite for thee this chapter which they recited for Re- 
Atum who shines every day. They put this Mernere 
upon their thrones before every Divine Ennead, like Re 
and like his successor. They cause this Mernere to be- 
come like Re in this his name of Kheprer (Sun-god) . Thou 
ascendest to them like Re in this his name of Re. Thou 
wanderest away from them like Re in this his name of 
'Atum. 1 The two Divine Enneads rejoice, O king Osiris 
Mernere. They say, 'Our brother here comes to us/ say 
the two Divine Enneads concerning Osiris Mernere, king 
Osiris Mernere. 'One of us comes to us/ say the two 
Divine Enneads concerning thee, O king Osiris Mernere. 
'The first-born of his mother !' say the two Divine En- 
neads concerning thee, O king Osiris Mernere. 'He to 
whom evil was done by his brother Set comes to us/ 
say the two Divine Enneads. ' But we shall not permit 
that Set be delivered from bearing thee forever, O king 
Osiris Mernere/ say the two Divine Enneads concerning 
thee, O king Osiris Mernere. Lift thee up, O king Osiris 
Mernere. Thou livest." 2 It will be noticed that the 
Osirian passage which follows so abruptly upon the Solar 
is Osirian in content, and its Osirian character does not 
consist in the simple insertion of the name of Osiris be- 
fore that of the king. 

1 "Ascendest" and "wanderest" are in Egyptian puns on the 
names of Re and Atum. 

2 Pyr. Ut. 606. 


Perhaps even worse confusion is exhibited by the fol- 
lowing Utterance: 

"0 this Pepi! Thou hast departed. Thou art a Glo- 
rious One, thou art mighty as a god, like the successor of 
Osiris. Thy soul hast thou in the midst of thee. Thy 
power (or 'control') hast thou behind thee. Thy crown 
hast thou on thy head. . . . The servants of the god are 
behind thee, the nobles of the god are before thee." 

"They recite: 'The god comes! The god comes! This 
Pepi comes upon the throne of Osiris. This Glorious 
One comes, the Dweller in Nedyt, the mighty one, the 
dweller in Thinis (Osiris)."' 

"Isis speaks to thee, Nephthys greets thee. The Glo- 
rious come to thee, bowing down; they kiss the earth at 
thy feet, because the terror of thee, O this Pepi, is in the 
cities of Seya." 

"Thou ascendest to thy mother Nut; she seizes thy 
arm. She gives to thee the way to the horizon, to the 
place where Re is. The double doors of the sky are 
opened for thee, the double doors of Kebehu (the sky) 
are opened for thee." 

"Thou findest Re standing (there) ; he greets thee. He 
seizes thy arm, he leads thee into the double palace of 
the sky. He places thee upon the throne of Osiris." 

"Ho, this Pepi! The Horus-eye comes to thee, it ad- 
dresses thee. Thy soul that is among the gods comes to 
thee; thy power (or 'control') that is among the Glori- 
ous comes to thee. The son has avenged his father, 
Horus has avenged Osiris. Horus has avenged Pepi on 
his enemies." 

"Thou risest, O this Pepi, avenged, equipped as a god, 
endued with the form of Osiris, upon the throne of the 
First of the Westerners. Thou doest what he was ac- 


customed to do among the Glorious, the Imperishable 

"Thy son stands on thy throne equipped with thy 
form. He does what thou wast accustomed to do for- 
merly before the living, by command of Re, the great god. 
He ploughs barley, he ploughs spelt, he presents thee there- 

"'Ho, this Pepi! All satisfying life is given to thee, 
eternity is thine/ says Re. Thou speakest thyself; re- 
ceive to thee the form of the god wherewith thou shalt 
be great among the gods who are in control of the lake." 

"Ho, this Pepi! Thy soul stands among the gods, 
among the Glorious. The fear of thee is on their hearts." 

"Ho, this Pepi! This Pepi stands upon thy throne be- 
fore the living. The terror of thee is on their hearts." 
; "Thy name lives upon earth, thy name grows old upon 
earth. Thou perishest not, thou passest not away for 
ever and ever." l 

While there is some effort here to correlate the func- 
tions of Re and Osiris, it can hardly be called an attempt 
at harmonization of conflicting doctrines. This is prac- 
tically unknown in the Pyramid Texts. Perhaps we may 
regard it as an explanation of Osiris's presence in the sky 
when we find a reference to the fact that "he ascended 
... to the sky that he might join the suite of Re." 2 
But the fact that both Re and Osiris appear as supreme 
kings of the hereafter cannot be reconciled, and such 
mutually irreconcilable beliefs caused the Egyptian no more 

1 Pyr. Ut. 422. 

2 Pyr. § 971 e. The only passage which may fairly be called an 
effort to harmonize conflicting doctrine is that on p. 102, where the 
place of the Imperishable Stars in the north is pushed over toward 
the east to harmonize with the doctrine of the eastern sky as the 
place of the abode of the celestial dead. Pyr. § 1000. 


discomfort than was felt by any early civilization in the 
maintenance of a group of religious teachings side by 
side with others involving varying and totally incon- 
sistent suppositions. Even Christianity itself has not 
escaped this experience. 

There is a marked difference between Osiris and Re. 
Osiris is in function passive. Rarely does he become an 
active agent on behalf of the dead (as, e. g., in Pyr. Ut. 
559). The blessedness of the Osirian destiny consisted 
largely in the enjoyment of the good offices of Horus, 
who appears as the son of the dead as soon as the latter 
is identified with Osiris. On the other hand, Re is a mighty 
sovereign, often directly interposing in favor of the dead, 
while it is the services of others on behalf of Osiris (not 
by Osiris) which the dead (as Osiris) enjoys. Osiris is 
a god of the dead; Re, on the other hand, is the great 
power in the affairs of living men, and there we behold 
his sovereignty expanding and developing to hold sway 
in a more exalted realm of moral values — a realm of which 
we shall gain the earliest glimpses anywhere vouchsafed 
us as we endeavor to discover more than the merely ma- 
terial agencies, and the material ends, which we have 
seen dominating the Egyptian conception of the here- 



Nowhere in ancient times has the capacity of a race 
to control the material world been so fully expressed in 
surviving material remains as in the Nile valley. In the 
abounding fulness of their energies they built up a fabric 
of material civilization, the monuments of which it would 
seem time can never wholly sweep away. But the mani- 
fold substance of life, interfused of custom and tradition, 
of individual traits fashioned among social, economic, and 
governmental forces, ever developing in the daily opera- 
tions and functions of life — all that made the stage and 
the setting amid which necessity for hourly moral decisions 
arises — all that creates the attitude of the individual and 
impels the inner man as he is called upon to make these 
decisions — all these constitute an elusive higher atmos- 
phere of the ancient world which tomb masonry and 
pyramid orientation have not transmitted to us. Save 
in a few scanty references in the inscriptions of the Pyra- 
mid Age, it has vanished forever; for even the inscrip- 
tions, as we have seen, are concerned chiefly with the 
material welfare of the departed in the hereafter. What 
they disclose, however, is of unique interest, preserving as 
it does the earliest chapter in the moral development of 
man as known to us, a chapter marking perhaps the most 



important fundamental step in the evolution of civiliza- 
tion. Moreover, these materials from the Pyramid Age 
have never been put together, and in gathering them to- 
gether for these lectures I have been not a little sur- 
prised to find them as numerous as they are. 

They are, indeed, sufficiently numerous, and so un- 
equivocal as to demonstrate the existence nearly three 
thousand years before Christ of a keen moral discern- 
ment, already so far developed that we must conclude it 
had begun far back in the fourth millennium B. C. 
Indeed the Egyptian of the Pyramid Age had already be- 
gun to look back upon a time when sin and strife did not 
exist, to "that first body" of "the company of the just," 
"born before arose," "strife," "voice," "blasphemy," 
"conflict," or the frightful mutilations inflicted upon each 
other by Horus and Set. 1 With this age of innocence, or 
at least of righteousness and peace, we must associate 
also the time of which they spoke, "before death came 
forth." 2 The development of moral discernment had 
indeed gone so far in the Pyramid Age that the thought 
of the age was dealing with the origin of good and evil, 
the source of human traits. We recall that our Memphite 
philosopher and theologian attributed all these things to 
the creative word of his god, " which made that which is 
loved and that which is hated," "which gave life to the 
peaceful and death to the guilty." 3 Akin to this is the 
emergence, in this age, of the earliest abstract term dis- / 
cernible in the ancient world, the word for " truth, right, 
righteousness, justice," all of which are connoted by one 

Furthermore, in the daily secular life of this remote age, 
even in administration, moral ideals already had great 

1 Pyr. § 1463. 2 Pyr. § 1466 d. 3 See above, p. 45. 


influence. In the Feudal Age, a thousand years after 
the rise of the Old Kingdom, at the installation of the 
vizier, that official used to be referred to the example of 
an ancient vizier who had already become proverbial in 
the Pyramid Age. The cause of his enduring reputation 
was that he had decided a case, in which his relatives 
were involved, against his own kin, no matter what the 
merits of the case might be, lest he should be accused 
of partial judgment in favor of his own family. 1 A simi- 
lar example of respect for moral ideals in high places is 
doubtless to be recognized in the Horus-name of king 
Userkaf (twenty-eighth century B. C). He called him- 
self "Doer-of-Righteousness" (or Justice). 

Among the people the most common virtue discernible 
by us is fihaljiety. Over and over again we find the 
massive tombs of the Pyramid Age erected by the son 
for the departed father, as well as a splendid interment 
arranged by the son. 2 Indeed one of the sons of this age 
even surpasses the example of all others, for he states in a 
passage of his tomb inscription: "Now I caused that I 
should be buried in the same tomb with this Zau (his 
father), in order that I might be with him in the same 
place; not, however, because I was not in a position to 
make a second tomb; but I did this in order that I might 
see this Zau every day, in order that I might be with him 
in the same place." 3 

It is especially in the tomb that such claims of moral 
worthiness are made. This is not an accident; such 
claims are made in the tomb in this age with the logical 
purpose of securing in the hereafter any benefits accruing 
from such virtues. Thus, on the base of a mortuary 

1 Sethe, Untersuchungen, V, 99. 

2 BAR, I, 382. 3 BAR, I, 383. 


statue set up in a tomb, the deceased represented by the 
portrait statue says: "I had these statues made by the 
sculptor and he was satisfied with the pay which I gave 
him." x The man very evidently wished it known that 
his mortuary equipment was honestly gotten. A nomarch 
of the twenty-seventh century B. C. left the following 
record of his upright life : " I gave bread to all the hungry 
of the Cerastes-Mountain (his domain); I clothed him 
who was naked therein. I filled its shores with large 
cattle and its lowlands 1 with small cattle. I satisfied the 
wolves of the mountain and the fowl of the sky with 
'flesh' of small cattle. ... I never oppressed one in pos- 
session of his property so that he complained of me be- 
cause of it to the god of my city; (but) I spake and told 
that which was good. Never was there one fearing be- 
cause of one stronger than he, so that he complained 
because of it to the god. ... I was a benefactor to it 
(his domain) in the folds of the cattle, in the settlements 
of the fowlers. ... I speak no lie, for I was one beloved 
of his father, praised of his mother, excellent in character 
to his brother, and amiable to [his sister]." 2 

Over and over these men of four thousand five hundred 
to five thousand years ago affirm their innocence of evil- 
doing. "Never did I do anything evil toward any per- 
son," 3 says the chief physician of king Sahure in the 
middle of the twenty-eighth century before Christ, while 
a priest a little later says essentially the same thing: 
"Never have I done aught of violence toward any per- 
son." 4 A century later a citizen of little or no rank 
places the following address to the living upon the front 

1 Statue in the Leipzig University Collection. Steindorff, 
Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 48, 156. 

2 BAR, I, 281. 3 BAR, I, 240. 4 BAR, I, 252. 


of his tomb: "0 ye living, who are upon earth, who pass 
by this tomb ... let a mortuary offering of that which 
ye have come forth for me, for I was one beloved of the 
people. Never was I beaten in the presence of any 
official since my birth; never did I take the property of 
any man by violence; I was a doer of that which pleased 
all men." x It is evident from such addresses to the 
living as this that one motive for these affirmations of 
estimable character was the hope of maintaining the good- 
will of one's surviving neighbors, that they might present 
mortuary offerings of food and drink at the tomb. 

It is equally clear also that such moral worthiness was 
deemed of value in the sight of the gods and might in- 
fluence materially the happiness of the dead in the here- 
after. An ethical ordeal awaited those who had passed 
into the shadow world. Both the motives mentioned are 
found combined in a single address to the living on the 
front of the tomb of the greatest of early African explorers, 
Harkhuf of Elephantine, who penetrated the Sudan in 
the twenty-sixth century B. C. He says: "I was . . . 
one (beloved) of his father, praised of his mother, whom all 
his brothers loved. I gave bread to the hungry, clothing 
to the naked, I ferried him who had no boat. O ye living 
who are upon earth, [who shall pass by this tomb whether] 
going down-stream or going up-stream, who shall say, 
'A thousand loaves, a thousand jars of beer for the 
owner of this tomb!' I will intercede for their sakes in the 
Nether World. I am a worthy and equipped Glorious 
One, a ritual priest whose mouth knows. As for any 
man who shall enter into (this) tomb as his mortuary 
possession, I will seize him like a wild fowl; he shall be 
judged for it by the Great God. I was one saying good 
1 BAR, I, 279. 


things and repeating what was loved. Never did I say 
aught evil to a powerful one against anybody. I desired 
that it might be well with me in the Great God's presence. 
Never did I [judge two brothers] in such a way that a 
son was deprived of his paternal possession." l Here the 
threat of judgment is not only used to deter the lawless 
who might take possession of the dead man's tomb, but 
the thought of that judgment, meaning moral responsi- 
bility beyond the grave, is affirmed to have been the mo- 
tive of the great explorer's exemplary life. That motive 
is thus carried back to the actual course of his daily, 
earthly life as when he says: "I desired that it might be 
well with me in the Great God's presence." 2 Through- 
out his life, then, he looked forward to standing in that 
dread presence to answer for the ethical quality of his 
conduct. As the earliest evidence of moral responsibility 
beyond the tomb, such utterances in the cemeteries of 
the Pyramid Age, nearly five thousand years ago, are not a 
little impressive. In other lands, for over two thousand 
years after this, good and bad alike were consigned to 
the same realm of the dead, and no distinction whatever 
was made between them. It is, as it were, an isolated 
moral vista down which we look, penetrating the early 
gloom as a shaft of sunshine penetrates the darkness. 

It is of great importance to identify these ideas of a 
moral searching in the hereafter with one or the other of 
the two dominant theologies, that is with Re or Osiris. 
Unfortunately the god whose judgment is feared is not 
mentioned by name, but an epithet, "Great God," is em- 
ployed instead. This is expanded in one tomb to " Great 

1 BAR, I, 328-331. The threat will also be found, BAR, I, 253 
and 338. 

2 This statement is also found in another Aswan tomb, BAR, I, 357. 


God, lord of the sky." l It is hardly possible that any 
other than Re can be meant. To be sure, the celestial- 
izing of Osiris has in one or two rare instances brought 
even him the title "lord of the sky" (see above, p. 149), 
but the unprejudiced mind on hearing the words "Great 
God, lord of the sky" would think of no other than Re, to 
whom it was and had been for centuries incessantly ap- 
plied; and this conclusion is confirmed by all that we 
find in the Pyramid Texts, where, as we shall see, Re is 
over and over again the lord of the judgment. It is he 
who is meant when Inti of Deshasheh says: "But as for 
all people who shall do evil to this (tomb), who shall do 
anything destructive to this (tomb), who shall damage 
the writing therein, judgment shall be had with them for 
it by the Great God, the lord of judgment in the place 
where judgment is had." 2 

We have already followed the elaborate provision for 
all the contingencies of the hereafter which we find in 
the Pyramid Texts, and we recall how indispensable was 
the purification of the dead at some point in his transition 
from the earthly to the celestial realm. We stated in 
reference to that purification that its significance was not 
exhausted in purely physical and ceremonial cleansing. 
That to some extent it signified moral purification is evi- 
dent from the fact that when the dead king in one pas- 
sage is washed by "the Followers of Horus," "they recite 
the 'Chapter of the Just' on behalf of this king Pepi 
(whom they are washing); they recite the ' Chapter of 
Those Who Have Ascended to Life and Satisfaction' on 
behalf of this king Pepi." 3 The "Followers of Horus" 
who perform this ceremony are of course Solar, and thus 
moral purity in the hereafter is associated with the Sun- 

1 BAR, I, 338. 2 Petrie, Deshasheh, pi. vii. 3 Pyr. § 921. 


god at the very beginning. This connection between the 
Sun-god and moral requirements is clearly recognized in 
a number of important passages in the Pyramid Texts. 
" ' Let him come, he is pure/ says the priest of Re concern- 
ing king Mernere. The door-keeper of the sky, he an- 
nounces him (Mernere) to these four gods (the four 
Horuses) who are over the lake of Keneset. They recite 
(the chapter), 'How just is king Mernere for his father 
Geb!' 1 They recite (the chapter), 'How just is king 
Mernere for his father Re!'" 2 

The king, then, is not exempt from the requirement 
which the tombs of his nobles disclose them as so anxious 
to fulfil, and the god whom he satisfies, as in the case of 
his subjects, is Re. "There is no evil which king Pepi 
has done. Weighty is this word in thy sight, O Re." 3 
In a typical Solar Utterance, an appendix to an untouched 
Solar Utterance preceding it, we find Re's ferryman thus 
addressed: "O thou who ferriest over the just who is 
without a ship, ferryman of the Field of Rushes, king 
Merire (Pepi) is just before the sky and before the earth. 
King Pepi is just before that island of the earth to which 
he has swum and arrived there." 4 When the righteous 
king has safely crossed, he furthermore finds a Solar 
Horus in charge of the celestial doors, who presides in 

1 The Osirian editor of the only other text of this Utterance (510), 
that of Pepi, has inserted Osiris over Geb here, and then incorrectly- 
added "Pepi," making "Osiris Pepi." The text thus made non- 
sense, viz., "How just is king Pepi for Osiris Pepi!" The passage 
incidentally furnishes one of the best examples of Osirian editing. 
That the text had nothing to do with Osiris in this passage, but con- 
cerned solely Geb and Re, is shown by the following context: "His 
(the king's) boundaries exist not, his landmarks are not found; 
while Geb, with his arm to the sky and his (other) arm to the earth, 
announces king Mernere to Re." 

2 Pyr. §§ 1141-2. 3 Pyr. § 1238. « Pyr. § 1188. 


what is evidently a building, of uncertain character, to 
which is appended the phrase " of righteousness." x Re 
has two barques of "Truth" or "Righteousness," 2 and 
we remember that the goddess of Truth or Righteousness, 
a personification of one of the few abstractions existent 
in this early age, was a daughter of Re. 

Similarly, the Morning Star, a Solar deity, takes due 
note of the moral status of the dead Pharaoh. "Thou (O 
Morning Star) makest this Pepi to sit down because of 
his righteousness and to rise up because of his reverence." 3 
Sometimes his guiltlessness applies to matters not wholly 
within the moral realm from our modern point of view. 
Having become the son of Re, rising and setting like Re, 
receiving the food of Horus (son of Re), ministering to 
Re and rowing Re across the sky, it is said of the king: 
"This Pepi blasphemes not the king, he defames 1 not 
Bastet, he does not make merry in the sanctuary." 4 

The moral worthiness of the deceased must of course, 
in accordance with the Egyptian's keen legal discernment, 
be determined in legal form and by legal process. We 
have seen that the nobles refer to the judgment in their 
tombs, and it would seem that even the king was subject 
to such judgment. Indeed not even the gods escaped it; 
for it is stated that every god who assists the Pharaoh to 
the sky "shall be justified before Geb." 5 In the same 
way the punishment of a refractory god is " that he shall 
not ascend to the house of Horus that is in the sky on 
that day of the (legal) hearing." 6 In a series of three 
Solar Utterances concerning the two celestial reed floats, 7 

1 Pyr. § 815. 2 Pyr. § 1785>. 3 Pyr. § 1219 a. 

4 Pyr. Ut. 467. Does the blaspheming refer to Re? For Pepi is 
himself the king! 
6 Pyr. § 1327. 6 Pyr. § 1027. 7 Pyr. Ut. 263-5. 


the last one concludes with a refrain three times uttered: 
"This king Pepi is justified, this king Pepi is praised, the 
ka of this king Pepi is praised." When we note that the 
second of this coherent series of three Utterances is anti- 
Osirian, it is evident that the justification occurring in 
this connection is not Osirian but Solar, like the Utter- 
ance in which it is found. This conclusion is confirmed 
by another Solar Utterance on the two reed floats which 
affirms: "This Pepi is justified, the ka of this Pepi is 
justified." * 

The translated Pharaoh, who is thus declared just, con- 
tinues to exhibit the same qualities in the exercise of the 
celestial sovereignty which he receives. "He judges jus- 
tice before Re on that day of the feast, (called) ' First of 
the Year/ The sky is in satisfaction, the earth is in joy, 
having heard that king Neferkere (Pepi II) has placed 
justice [in the place of injustice]. They are satisfied who 
sit with king Neferkere in his court of justice with the 
just utterance which came forth from his mouth." 2 It 
is significant that the king exercises this just judgment in 
the presence of Re the Sun-god. Similarly in a Solar 
Utterance we find it affirmed that "king Unis has set 
justice therein (in the isle where he is) in the place of 
injustice." 3 

There can be no doubt that in the Old Kingdom the 
sovereignty of Re had resulted in attributing to him the 
moral requirements laid upon the dead in the hereafter, 
and that in the surviving literature of that age he is 
chiefly the righteous god rather than Osiris. Righteous- 

1 Pyr. § 929 a. 2 Pyr. §§ 1774 a-1776 b. 

3 Pyr. § 265. "Justice" in both these passages may be translated 
also "truth" or "righteousness." As the correlated opposite means 
"falsehood," it is perhaps more nearly correct to render "truth" 
and "falsehood." 


ness is a quality which is associated with several gods in 
the Old Kingdom, but none of the others approaches the 
prominence of Re in this particular. We find the four 
genii, the sons of Horus, who, as we have seen, were not 
improbably Solar in origin, though later Osirianized, called 
"these four gods who live in righteousness, leaning upon 
their sceptres, guarding the Southland." * These gods are 
once associated with Letopolis, 2 and it is perhaps a con- 
nected fact that officiating before Khenti-yerti of Letop- 
olis we find a god called " Expeller of Deceit," using the 
word for "deceit" which is correlated with "Truth or 
Righteousness " in the Pyramid Texts as its opposite. 3 
These four sons of Horus are mortuary gods, and one of 
the old mortuary gods of Memphis, Sokar, possessed a 
barque which was called the " Barque of Truth (or Right- 
eousness)." 4 To this barque or its presiding divinity the 
dead king is compared: "The tongue of this king Pepi 
is (that of) ' The-Righteous-One (a god) -Belonging-to- 
the-Barque-of -Righteousness.' " 5 The Osirian Horus once 
receives the epithet "the justified" in the Pyramid Texts; 6 
and Osiris likewise is, though very rarely, called " Lord of 
Truth (or Righteousness)." 7 In connection with the Osi- 
rian litigation at Heliopolis three statements regarding 
the legal triumph of the king are made which, because 
of the legal character of the victory, may not be exclu- 
sively ethical. The passage says of the king: "He is 
justified through that which he has done." 8 Again, he 
"comes forth to the truth (or ' righteousness ' in the 
sense of legal victory), that he may take it with him"; 9 
and finally the king "goes forth on this day that he may 

1 Pyr. § 1483. 2 Pyr. § 2078. 3 Pyr. § 2086. 

4 Pyr. § 1429 c. 5 Pyr. § 1306 c. 6 Pyr. § 2089 a. 

7 Pyr. § 1520 a. 8 Pyr. § 316. 9 Pyr. § 319. 


bring the truth with him." l The later rapid growth of 
ethical teaching in the Osiris faith and the assumption of 
the role of judge by Osiris is not yet discernible in the 
Pyramid Age, and the development which made these 
elements so prominent in the Middle Kingdom took 
place in the obscure period after the close of the Pyramid 
Age. Contrary to the conclusion generally accepted at 
present, it was the Sun-god, therefore, who was the ear- 
liest champion of moral worthiness and the great judge 
in the hereafter. A thousand years later Osiris, as the 
victorious litigant at Heliopolis, as the champion of the 
dead who had legally triumphed over all his enemies, 
emerged as the great moral judge. In the usurpation of 
this role by Osiris we have another evidence of the irre- 
sistible process which Osirianized Egyptian religion. To 
these later conditions from which modern students have 
drawn their impressions, the current conclusion regarding 
the early moral supremacy of Osiris is due. The greater 
age of the Solar faith in this as in other particulars is, 
however, perfectly clear. 2 

These early moral aspirations had their limitations. 
Let us not forget that we are dealing with an age lying 
between five thousand and forty-five hundred years ago. 
The chief conquests of man in this remote age had been 
gained in a struggle with material forces. In this struggle 
he had issued a decisive victor, but nevertheless it was 

1 Pyr. § 323. 

2 In my History of Egypt I have accepted the conclusion that the 
Osirian litigation at Heliopolis is the incident in the career of Osiris 
which resulted in the introduction of powerful ethical motives into 
Egyptian religion. A further study of the Pyramid Texts and the 
collection of all the data they contain on the subject, as presented 
above, demonstrate in my judgment the incorrectness of this con- 
clusion as well as the early moral superiority of the Solar religion. 


amid the tangle of a host of obscuring influences into which 
we cannot enter here; it was, as it were, through the dust 
of an engrossing conflict that he had caught but faintly 
the veiled glory of the moral vision. Let us not imagine, 
then, that the obligations which this vision imposed were 
all-embracing or that it could include all that we discern 
in it. The requirements of the great judge in the here- 
after were not incompatible with the grossest sensuality. 
Not only was sensual pleasure permitted in the hereafter 
as depicted by the Pyramid Texts, but positive provision 
was made for supplying it. 1 The king is assured of sen- 
sual gratification in the grossest terms, and we hear it 
said of him that he "is the man who takes women from 
their husbands whither he wills and when his heart de- 
sires." 2 

Nevertheless that was a momentous step which re- 
garded felicity after death as in any measure dependent 
upon the ethical quality of the dead man's earthly life; 
and it must have been a deep and abiding moral con- 
sciousness which made even the divine Pharaoh, who was 
above the mandates of earthly government, amenable to 
the celestial judge and subject to moral requirements. 
This step could not have been taken at once. It is pos- 
sible that even in the brief century and a half covered 
by the Pyramid Texts we may discern some trace of the 
progress of ethical consciousness as it was involving even 
the king in its imperious demands. We have already 
noted above the statement regarding the king, "This 
king Pepi is justified." Now, it happens that the Utter- 
ance in which this statement occurs is found in a variant 

1 In Pyr. § 123 the Pharaoh is supplied with a mistress in the here- 

2 Pyr. § 510. 


form in the pyramids of Unis and Teti, two kings earlier 
than Pepi. Neither of these earlier forms contains this 
statement of justification, and within a period of sixty 
to eighty years the editors deemed it wise to insert it. 1 
As we have so often said, it is not easy to read the 
spiritual and intellectual progress of a race in monuments 
so largely material as contrasted with literary documents. 
It is easy to be misled and to misinterpret the meagre in- 
dications furnished by purely material monuments. Be- 
hind them lies a vast complex of human forces and of 
human thinking which for the most part eludes us. Never- 
theless it is impossible to contemplate the colossal tombs 
of the Fourth Dynasty, so well known as the Pyramids 
of Gizeh, and to contrast them with the comparatively 
diminutive royal tombs which follow in the next two 
dynasties, without, as we have before hinted, discerning 
more than exclusively political causes behind this sudden 
and startling change. The insertion of the Pyramid 
Texts themselves during the last century and a half of 
the Pyramid Age is an evident resort to less material 
forces enlisted on behalf of the departed Pharaoh as he 
confronted the shadow world. On the other hand, the 
Great Pyramids of Gizeh represent, as we have said be- 
fore, the struggle of titanic material forces in the en- 
deavor by purely material means to immortalize the 
king's physical body, enveloping it in a vast and impene- 
trable husk of masonry, there to preserve forever all that 
linked the spirit of the king to material life. The Great 
Pyramids of Gizeh, while they are to-day the most im- 
posing surviving witnesses to the earliest emergence of 
organized man and the triumph of concerted effort, are 

!The Utterances are 263 (Unis), 264 (Teti), and 265-6 (Pepi). 
Unis, the oldest king, died about 2625 B. C, and Pepi I about 2570. 


likewise the silent but eloquent expression of a supreme 
endeavor to achieve immortality by sheer physical force. 
For merely physical reasons such a colossal struggle with 
the forces of decay could not go on indefinitely; with 
these reasons political tendencies too made common cause; 
but combined with all these we must not fail to see that 
the mere insertion of the Pyramid Texts in itself in the 
royal tombs of the last century and a half of the Pyramid 
Age was an abandonment of the titanic struggle with ma- 
terial forces and an evident resort to less tangible agen- 
cies. The recognition of a judgment and the requirement 
of moral worthiness in the hereafter was a still more 
momentous step in the same direction. It marked a tran- 
sition from reliance on agencies external to the personality 
of the dead to dependence on inner values. Immor- 
tality began to make its appeal as a thing achieved in 
a man's own soul. It was the beginning of a shift of 
emphasis from objective advantages to subjective qual- 
ities. It meant the ultimate extension of the dominion 
of God beyond the limits of the material world, that he 
might reign in the invisible kingdom of the heart. It 
was thus also the first step in the long process by which 
the individual personality begins to emerge as contrasted 
with the mass of society, a process which we can discern 
likewise in the marvellous portrait sculpture of the Pyra- 
mid Age. The vision of the possibilities of individual 
character had dimly dawned upon the minds of these 
men of the early world; their own moral ideals were 
passing into the character of their greatest gods, and 
with this supreme achievement the development of the 
five hundred years which we call the Pyramid Age had 
reached its close. 

When Egypt emerged from the darkness which fol- 


lowed the Pyramid Age, and after a century and a half 
of preparatory development reached the culmination of 
the Feudal Age (Twelfth Dynasty), about 2000 B. C, 
the men of this classic period looked back upon a struggle 
of their ancestors with death— a struggle whose visible 
monuments were distributed along a period of fifteen hun- 
dred years. The first five hundred years of this struggle 
was still represented by the tombs of the first two dynas- 
ties in Abydos and vicinity, but it was veiled in mist, 
and to the men of the Feudal Age its monuments were 
mingled with the memorials of the gods who once ruled 
Egypt. Of the thousand years which had elapsed since 
the Pyramid Age began, the first five hundred was im- 
pressively embodied before their eyes in that sixty-mile 
rampart of pyramids sweeping along the margin of the 
western desert. There they stretched like a line of silent 
outposts on the frontiers of death. It was a thousand 
years since the first of them had been built, and five hun- 
dred years had elapsed since the architects had rolled 
up their papyrus drawings of the latest, and the last 
group of workmen had gathered up their tools and de- 
parted. The priesthoods too, left without support, had, 
as we have already seen, long forsaken the sumptuous 
temples and monumental approaches that rose on the 
valley side. The sixty-mile pyramid cemetery lay in 
silent desolation, deeply encumbered with sand half hid- 
ing the ruins of massive architecture, of fallen architraves 
and prostrate colonnades, a solitary waste where only 
the slinking figure of the vanishing jackal suggested the 
futile protection of the old mortuary gods of the desert. 
Even at the present day no such imposing spectacle as 
the pyramid cemeteries of Egypt is to be found any- 
where in the ancient world, and we easily recall something 


of the reverential awe with which they oppressed us 
when we first looked upon them. Do we ever realize 
that this impression was felt by their descendants only 
a few centuries after the builders had passed away? and 
that they were already ancient to the men of 2000 B. C? 
On the minds of the men of the Feudal Age the Pyramid 
cemetery made a profound impression. If already in the 
Pyramid Age there had been some relaxation in the con- 
viction that by sheer material force man might make con- 
quest of immortality, the spectacle of these colossal ruins 
now quickened such doubts into open scepticism, a 
scepticism which ere long found effective literary ex- 

Discernment of moral requirements had involved sub- 
jective contemplation. For the first time in history man 
began to contemplate himself as well as his destiny, to 
"expatiate free o'er all this scene of man." It is a ripe 
age which in so doing has passed beyond the unquestion- 
ing acceptance of traditional beliefs as bequeathed by 
the fathers. Scepticism means a long experience with 
inherited beliefs, much rumination on what has hereto- 
fore received unthinking acquiescence, a conscious recog- 
nition of personal power to believe or disbelieve, and thus 
a distinct step forward in the development of self-con- 
sciousness and personal initiative. It is only a people of 
ripe civilization who develop scepticism. It is never 
found under primitive conditions. It was a momentous 
thousand years of intellectual progress, therefore, of which 
these sceptics of the Feudal Age represented the culmina- 
tion. Their mental attitude finds expression in a song 
of mourning, doubtless often repeated in the cemetery, 
and as we follow the lines we might conclude that the 
author had certainly stood on some elevated point over- 


looking the pyramid cemetery of the Old Kingdom as he 
wrote them. We possess two fragmentary versions of 
the song, one on papyrus, the other on the walls of a 
Theban tomb. 1 But the papyrus version was also copied 
from a tomb, for the superscription reads: "Song which 
is in the house (tomb-chapel) of king Intef 2 the justified, 
which is in front of the singer with the harp." The song 

"How prosperous is this good prince! 3 
It is a goodly destiny, that the bodies diminish, 
Passing away while others remain, 
Since the time of the ancestors, 
The gods who were aforetime, 
Who rest in their pyramids, 
Nobles and the glorious departed likewise, 
Entombed in their pyramids. 
Those who built their (tomb)-temples, 
Their place is no more. 
Behold what is done therein. 
I have heard the words of Imhotep and Hardedef, 4 

1 They have been edited by W. M. Mueller in his Liebespoesie. 
The first version is found among the love-songs of Papyrus Harris, 
500, in the British Museum, pi. vi, 1. 2, to pi. vii, 1. 3 (part of a 
duplicate on a fragment of tomb wall in Leyden). See Mueller, 
pis. xii-xv. The other version is in the tomb of Neferhotep, Muel- 
ler, pi. i. For the older publications see Mueller. 

2 This is one of the Eleventh Dynasty Intefs. 

3 Meaning the dead king in whose tomb the song was written. 

4 Imhotep was grand vizier, chief architect, and famous wise man 
under king Zoser of the Third Dynasty (thirtieth century B. C). 
He was the first great architect in stone-masonry construction, the 
father of stone architecture. The futility of the massive building 
methods which he introduced is thus brought out with double 
effectiveness. He has not escaped the fate of all the rest in the Old 
Kingdom cemetery. Hardedef was a royal prince, son of Khufu of 
Gizeh, and hence connected with the greatest pyramid. He lived 
about a century after Imhotep. Both of them had thus become 
proverbial wise men a thousand years after they had passed away. 


(Words) greatly celebrated as their utterances. 
Behold the places thereof; 
Their walls are dismantled, 
Their places are no more, 
As if they had never been. 

"None cometh from thence 
That he may tell (us) how they fare; 
That he may tell (us) of their fortunes, 
That he may content our heart, 
Until we (too) depart 
To the place whither they have gone. 

"Encourage thy heart to forget it, 
Making it pleasant for thee to follow thy desire, 
While thou livest. 
Put myrrh upon thy head, 
And garments on thee of fine linen, 
Imbued with marvellous luxuries, 
The genuine things of the gods. 

"Increase yet more thy delights, 
And let [not] thy heart languish. 
Follow thy desire and thy good, 
Fashion thine affairs on earth 
After the mandates of thine (own) heart. 
(Till) that day of lamentation cometh to thee, 
When the silent-hearted hears not their lamentation, 
Nor he that is in the tomb attends the mourning. 

"Celebrate the glad day, 
Be not weary therein. 
Lo, no man taketh his goods with him. 
Yea, none returneth again that is gone thither." 

Such were the feelings of some of these men of the Feudal 
Age as they looked out over the tombs of their ancestors 
and contemplated the colossal futility of the vast pyramid 


cemeteries of the Old Kingdom. Even the names of 
some of the wise men of a thousand years before, whose 
sayings had become proverbial, and who thus had attained 
more than a sepulchral immortality in some colossal tomb, 
arose in the recollection of the singer. It can hardly be 
a matter of chance that Imhotep, the first of the two 
whom the singer commemorates, was the earliest archi- 
tect in stone masonry on a large scale, the father of archi- 
tecture in stone. As the architect of king Zoser of the 
thirtieth century B. C, he was the builder of the oldest 
superstructure of stone masonry still surviving from the 
ancient world, the so-called "terraced pyramid" of Sak- 
kara. It was a peculiarly effective stroke to revert to 
the tomb of this first great architect, and to find it in such 
a state of ruin that the places thereof were " as if they had 
never been." Indeed, to this day its place is unknown. 
Hardedef, too, the other wise man whom the poem re- 
calls, was a son of Khufu, and therefore connected with 
the greatest of the pyramids. The fact, too, that these 
two ancient sages had survived only in their wise sayings 
was another illustration of the futility of material agen- 
cies as a means of immortality. At the same time the 
disappearance of such souls as these to a realm where 
they could no longer be discerned, whence none returned 
to tell of their fate, strikes the sombrest and most wistful 
note in all these lines. It is a note of which we seem to 
hear an echo in the East three thousand years later in 
the lines of Omar Khayyam: 

" Strange, is it not ? that of the myriads who 
Before us passed the door of Darkness through, 
Not one returns to tell us of the Road 
Which to discover we must travel too." x 

1 Fitzgerald, Rubaiyat, 64. 


Here is bared a scepticism which doubts all means, 
material or otherwise, for attaining felicity or even sur- 
vival beyond the grave. To such doubts there is no 
answer; there is only a means of sweeping them tempo- 
rarily aside, a means to be found in sensual gratification 
which drowns such doubts in forgetfulness. "Eat, drink, 
and be merry, for to-morrow we die." 

The other version of the song, from the tomb of the 
" divine father (priest) of Amon, Neferhotep," at Thebes, 
is hardly as effective as the first, and unhappily is very 
fragmentary. It contains, however, some valuable lines 
which should not be overlooked. 

"How rests this just prince I 
The goodly destiny befalls, 
The bodies pass away 
Since the time of the god, 
And generations come into their places. 

"Re shows himself at early morn, 
Atum goes to rest in Manu. 1 
Men beget and women conceive, 
Every nostril breathes the air. 
Morning comes, they bear numerously, 
They (the new-born) come to their (appointed) places. 

"Celebrate the glad day, O divine father. 
Put the finest spices together at thy nose, 
Garlands of lotus flowers at thy shoulder, at thy neck. 
Thy sister who dwells in thy heart, 
She sits at thy side. 
Put song and music before thee, 
Behind thee all evil things, 
And remember thou (only) joy. 

1 These two lines merely recall the ceaseless rising and setting of 
the sun. Manu is the mountain of the west. 


"Till comes that day of mooring, 
At the land that loveth silence, 

(Where) the heart is quiet 
Of the son whom he loves. 

"Celebrate the glad day, O Neferhotep, justified, divine father, 
Excellent and pure of hands. 
I have heard all that befell 
Those . . . 

Their houses are dismantled, 
The place of them is no more, 
They are as if they had never been, 
Since the time of the god, 
Those lords . . . 

"[Wilt thou plant for thee pleasant trees] 1 
Upon the shore of thy pool, 
That thy soul may sit under them, 
That he may drink their water? 
Follow thy desire wholly, 

Give bread to him who hath no field. 
So shalt thou gain a good name 
For the future forever. 2 

"Thou hast seen [ r the tombs of the great 1 ] 
[ r Where priests offer, wearing skins of 1 ] the panther; 
Their libation vessels are on the ground, 
And their bread of their food-offerings. 

1 As Mueller has noticed, there was some reference to the well- 
known mortuary grove in this lacuna; he refers to Maspero, in 
Recueil de travaux, II, pp. 105-7; Rouge, Inscr. hierogl., CV; Mem. 
Miss, franc., V, 300, 330. But I cannot agree with Mueller in 
making it an injunction to equip the futile tomb with a grove 
equally futile, and supposing it to be an insertion by a later orthodox 
scribe. This can be avoided by making it a question. 

2 While a tomb and the grove attached to it are fruitless trouble, 
moral worthiness, kindness to the poor, and the resulting good name 
shall endure. 


Songstresses [weep 1 . . . 

Their mummies are set up before Re, 

Their people are in lamentation without (ceasing). 

( . . . comes in her season; 
Fate numbers his days. 
Thou hast waked . . . 

The song continues with reflections on the vanity of 
riches, as if in expansion of the single line in the other 
version referring to the fact that no man may take his 
goods with him when he departs. Wealth is fruitless, for 
the same fate has overtaken 

"Those who had granaries, 
Besides bread for offerings, 
And those [who had none] likewise." 

Hence the rich man is admonished: 

"Remember thou the day 
When thou art dragged 
To the land of . . . 
[Follow thy desire] wholly. 
There is none that returns again." * 

It is evident that the men of this age were reflecting 
deeply on the human state. The singer of this second 
version finds no hope in the contemplation of death, but 
suggests that it is well in any case to leave an enduring 
good name behind; not because it necessarily insures the 
good man anything in the world to come, but rather that 
it may abide in the minds of those who remain behind. 
Indeed, the obligation to a moral life imposed by the 

1 The upper ends of the remaining six lines are too fragmentary to 
yield any certain or connected sense. 


"Great God" whose judgment is yet to come, as well 
as the benefits in the world of the dead, resulting from 
the fulfilment of this obligation, play no part in this 
sceptic's thought. The gods are largely ignored. The 
only one mentioned is the Sun-god, who appears even 
in connection with the mummy, where we should have 
expected the appearance of Osiris. Self-indulgence and 
a good name on earth hereafter may be said to summarize 
the teaching of these sceptics, who have cast away the 
teaching of the fathers. 

Nevertheless there were those who rejected even these 
admonitions as but a superficial solution of the dark prob- 
lem of life. Suppose that the good name be innocently 
and unjustly forfeited, and the opportunities for self-in- 
dulgence cut off by disease and misfortune. It is exactly 
this situation which is presented to us in one of the most 
remarkable documents surviving from this remote age. 
We may term it "The Dialogue of a Misanthrope with 
his Own Soul," though no ancient title has survived. The 
general subject is the despair resulting from the situation 
mentioned, a despair which turns to death as the only 
escape. It is perhaps hardly necessary to call attention 
to the remarkable choice of such a subject in so remote 
an age, a subject which is essentially a state of mind, the 
inner experience of an unjust sufferer. It is our earliest 
Book of Job, written some fifteen hundred years before a 
similar experience brought forth a similar book among 
the Hebrews. 

The introduction narrating the circumstances which 
brought about this spiritual convulsion is unhappily lost. 1 
The prologue of the book is therefore lacking, but some 

1 The document is a papyrus of the Middle Kingdom in Berlin 
(P. 3024). It was first published by Lepsius over fifty years ago 


of the facts which It must have contained, setting forth 
the reasons for the reflections offered by the book, can 
be drawn from these reflections themselves. Our unfort- 
unate (we never learn his name) was a man of gentle 
spirit who nevertheless was overtaken by blighting mis- 
fortunes. He fell sick only to be forsaken by his friends, 
and even by his brothers, who should have cared for him 
in his illness. No one proved faithful to him, and in the 
midst of his distress his neighbors robbed him. The good 
that he had done yesterday was not remembered, and 
although a wise man, he was repelled when he would 
have plead his cause. He was unjustly condemned, and 
his name, which should have been revered, became a 
stench in the nostrils of men. 

At this juncture, when in darkness and despair he de- 
termines to take his own life, the document as preserved 
to us begins. Then, as he stands on the brink of the 
grave, his soul shrinks back from the darkness in horror 
and refuses to accompany him. In a long dialogue which 
now sets in, we discern the unfortunate man discoursing 
with himself, and conversing with his soul as with an- 
other person. The first reason for his soul's unwilling- 
ness is apprehension lest there should be no tomb in which 
to dwell after death. This, at first, seems strange enough 
in view of the scepticism with which such material prep- 
aration for death was viewed by just such men as our 
unfortunate proved himself to be. We soon discover, 
however, that this, like another which follows, was but 
a literary device intended to offer opportunity for ex- 

(Denkmaeler, VI, Taf ., 111-112) . Its content is so difficult that it re- 
mained unintelligible until republished by Erman in 1896, "Ge- 
spraech eines Lebensmueden mit seiner Seele," Abhandl. der koenigl. 
Preuss. Akad., Berlin, 1896. From Erman's treatise the above 
presentation draws substantially. 


posing the utter futility of all such preparations. It 
would seem that the soul itself had before advised death 
by fire; but that it had then itself shrunk back from this 
terrible end. As there would be no surviving friend or 
relative to stand at the bier and carry out the mortuary 
ceremonies, the misanthrope then proceeded to adjure 
his own soul to undertake this office. The soul, however, 
now refuses death in any form and paints the terrors of 
the tomb. "My soul opened its mouth and answered 
what I had said: 'If thou rememberest burial it is mourn- 
ing, it is a bringer of tears, saddening a man; it is taking 
a man from his house and casting him upon the height 
(the cemetery plateau). Thou ascendest not up that 
thou mayest see the sun. Those who build in red gran- 
ite, who erect the ^sepulchre 1 in the pyramid, those beau- 
tiful in this beautiful structure, r who have become like 1 
gods, the offering-tables thereof are as empty as (those of) 
these weary ones who die on the dike without a sur- 
vivor, (when as he lies half immersed on the shore) the 
flood has taken (one) end of him, the heat likewise; those 
to whom the fish along the shore speak (as they devour 
the body). Hearken to me — lo, it is good for men to 
hearken — follow the glad day and forget care. ' " l 

This then is the reply of the soul when the conventional 
view of death has been held up before it. The misan- 
thrope has affirmed that he is fortunate "who is in his 
pyramid over whose coffin a survivor has stood, " and he 
has besought his soul to be the one "who shall be my 
^burier, 1 who shall make offering, who shall stand at the 
tomb on the day of burial, that he may 'prepare 1 the 
bed in the cemetery." 2 But like the harper in the two 
songs we have read, his soul remembers the dismantled 

1 Misanthrope, 11. 56-68. 2 Ibid., 11. 52-55. 


tombs of the great, whose offering-tables are as empty 
as those of the wretched serfs dying like flies among the 
public works, along the vast irrigation dikes, and who 
lie there exposed to heat and devouring fish as they await 
burial. There is but one solution: to live on in forget- 
fulness of sorrow and drown it all in pleasure. 

Up to this point the Dialogue, with its philosophy of 
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die," has 
gone no further than the Song of the Harper. It now pro- 
ceeds to a momentous conclusion, going far beyond that 
song. It undertakes to demonstrate that life, far from 
being an opportunity for pleasure and unbridled indul- 
gence, is more intolerable than death. The demonstra- 
tion is contained in four poems which the unhappy man 
addresses to his own soul. These constitute the second 
half of the document, 1 and are fortunately much more in- 
telligible than the first half. 2 The first poem portrays the 
unjust abhorrence in which our unfortunate's name is 
held by the world. Each three-line strophe begins with 
the refrain, "My name is abhorred," and then, to enforce 
this statement, adduces for comparison some detestible 
thing from the daily life of the people, especially the no- 
torious stench of fish and fowl so common in the life of 
the Nile-dweller. 


"Lo, my name is abhorred, 
Lo, more than the odor of birds 
On summer days when the sky is hot. 

1 Lines 85-147. 

2 In structure these poems are as follows: 

The first has eight three-line strophes. 
The second has sixteen three-line strophes. 
The third has six three-line strophes. 
The fourth has three three-line strophes. 


"Lo, my name is abhorred, 
Lo, more than a fish-receiver 
On the day of the catch when the sky is hot. 

"Lo, my name is abhorred, 
Lo, more than the odor of fowl 
On the willow-hill full of geese. 

"Lo, my name is abhorred, 
Lo, more than the odor of fishermen 
By the shores of the marshes when they have fished. 

"Lo, my name is abhorred, 
Lo, more than the odor of crocodiles, 
More than sitting under the r bank 1 full of crocodiles. 

"Lo, my name is abhorred, 
Lo, more than a woman, 
Against whom a lie is told her husband." 

Two more strophes follow, but they are too obscure to 
be rendered. They exhibit the same structure, and evi- 
dently were similar in content to the others. While this 
poem is but a reiteration of the fact that the unhappy 
man's name has become a stench in the nostrils of his 
fellows, in the second poem he turns from himself to char- 
acterize those who are responsible for his misery. He 
looks out over the society of his time and finds only cor- 
ruption, dishonesty, injustice, and unfaithfulness even 
among his own kin. It is a fearful indictment, and as he 
utters it he asks himself in an ever-recurring refrain which 
opens each strophe, "To whom do I speak to-day?" His 
meaning probably is, "What manner of men are those 
to whom I speak?" and following each repetition of this 
question is a new condemnation. 



"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Brothers are evil, 
Friends of to-day are r not of love 1 . 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Hearts are thievish, 
Every man seizes his neighbor's goods. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
The gentle man perishes, 
The bold-faced goes everywhere. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
He of the peaceful face is wretched, 
The good is disregarded in every place. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
When a man arouses wrath by his evil conduct, 
He_ stirs all men to mirth, (although) his iniquity is wicked. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Robbery is practised, 
Every man seizes his neighbor's (goods). 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
The pest is faithful, 
(But) the brother who comes with it becomes an enemy. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Yesterday is not remembered, 
Nor is ... in this hour. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Brothers are evil, 

To whom do I speak to-day? 
Faces pass away, 
Every man with face lower than (those of) his brothers. 


"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Hearts are thievish, 
The man upon whom one leans has no understanding. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
There are no righteous, 
The land is left to those who do iniquity. 

' ' To whom do I speak to-day? 
There is dearth of the faithful, 

' ' To whom do I speak to-day? 
There is none here of contented heart; 
Go with him (the apparently contented) and he is not here. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
I am laden with wretchedness, 
Without a faithful one. 

"To whom do I speak to-day? 
Evil smites the land, 
It hath no end." 

The soul of the sufferer had shrunk back from death, 
and, like the Song of the Harper, proposed a life of pleasure 
as a way of escape. Then moved by the terror of death, 
and the hopelessness of material preparations to meet it, 
the unhappy man recoiled for a moment and turned to 
contemplate life. The two poems we have just read depict 
what he sees as he thus turns. What follows is the logical 
rebound from any faint hope that life may be possible, 
to the final conviction that death alone is the release from 
the misery in which he is involved. This third poem is a 
brief hymn in praise of death. It is not an exalted con- 
templation of the advantages of death, such as we find 
fifteen hundred years later in Plato's story of the death 


of Socrates; nor is it comparable to the lofty pessimism 
of the afflicted Job; but as the earliest utterance of the 
unjustly afflicted, as the first cry of the righteous sufferer 
echoing to us from the early ages of the world, it is of 
unique interest and not without its beauty and its wist- 
ful pathos. It is remarkable that it contains no thought 
of God; it deals only with glad release from the intolerable 
suffering of the past and looks not forward. It is char- 
acteristic of the age and the clime to which the poem be- 
longs, that this glad release should appear in the form of 
concrete pictures drawn from the daily life of the Nile- 


"Death is before me to-day 
[Like] the recovery of a sick man, 
Like going forth into a garden after sickness. 

"Death is before me to-day 
Like the odor of myrrh, 
Like sitting under the sail on a windy day. 

"Death is before me to-day 
Like the odor of lotus flowers, 
Like sitting on the shore of drunkenness. 

"Death is before me to-day 
Like the course of the freshet, 
Like the return of a man from the war-galley to his house. 

"Death is before me to-day 
Like the clearing of the sky, 
Like a man fowling therein toward 1 that which he knew not. 

"Death is before me to-day 
As a man longs to see his house 
When he has spent years in captivity." 


In spite of the fact that these pictures are drawn from 
the life of a distant world, for the most part unfamiliar to 
us, they do not altogether fail of their effect. Life as a 
long sickness from which we recover at death as the con- 
valescent enters a beautiful garden; death as the odor of 
myrrh borne on the fresh Nile wind, while the voyager 
sits beneath the bellying sail; death as the return of a 
war-worn wanderer in far waters approaching his home, 
or the glad restoration of the captive from foreign exile— 
these are figures of universal appeal in any age or clime. 1 

The forward glance into the ultimate future, which is 
so noticeably lacking in the preceding song, is the theme 
of the fourth poem. Each of its three strophes begins 
with the refrain, "He who is yonder," a common phrase, 
especially in the plural, "those who are yonder," for "the 
dead." "He who is yonder" shall himself be a god and 
"inflict the punishment of wickedness on the doer of it," 
not, as in the life of our misanthrope, on the innocent. 
"He who is yonder" embarks with the Sun-god in his 
celestial ship, and shall see that the best of offerings are 
offered to the temples of the gods, and not (by implica- 
tion) be spent in corrupt rewards or diverted by thiev- 
ing officials. "He who is yonder" is a respected sage, 
not repelled as he appeals to the corrupt officials, but 
directing to the Sun-god (Re) his appeals for which his 
daily presence with the god affords him opportunity. 

*Two of the figures are obscure: "the course of the freshet" is 
perhaps a reference to the dry water-course comparable with life, 
while its sudden filling by the waters of the freshet is the welcome 
refreshing corresponding to death. "A man fowling therein toward 
that which he knew not" may perhaps refer to the approach of the 
hunter to unfamiliar regions. "Sitting on the shore of drunkenness " 
is a picture of sensual pleasure in a drinking-booth on the dike or 
highway, here called "the shore." 


Earlier in the struggle with his soul, the sufferer had 
expressed the conviction that he should be justified here- 
after. 1 He now returns to this conviction in this fourth 
poem, with which the remarkable document closes. It 
therefore concludes with a solution likewise found among 
those discerned by Job — an appeal to justification here- 
after, although Job does not necessarily make this a rea- 
son for seeking death, thus making death the vestibule to 
the judgment-hall and therefore to be sought as soon as 


"He who is yonder 
Shall seize (the culprit) as a living god, 
Inflicting punishment of wickedness on the doer of it. 

"He who is yonder 
Shall stand in the celestial barque, 

Causing that the choicest of the offerings there be given 
to the temples. 

"He who is yonder 
Shall be a wise man who has not been repelled, 
Praying to Re when he speaks." 

Thus longing for the glad release which death affords 
and confident of the high privileges he shall enjoy beyond, 
the soul of the unhappy man at last yields, he enters the 
shadow and passes on to be with "those who are yonder." 
In spite of the evident crudity of the composition it is 
not without some feeling that we watch this unknown go, 
the earliest human soul, into the inner chambers of which 
we are permitted a glimpse across a lapse of four thousand 

1 Lines 23-27, 


It is evident that the men of the Feudal Age took 
great pleasure in such literary efforts. This particular 
Berlin papyrus was copied by a book-scribe, whose con- 
cluding remark is still legible at the end of the document: 
" It is finished from beginning to end like that which was 
found in writing." * He copied it therefore from an older 
original, and doubtless many such copies were to be found 
on the shelves of the thinking men of the time. The 
story of the Misanthrope was one which owed its origin 
to individual experiences through which the men of this 
time were really passing, and they found profit in perus- 
ing it. It is a distinct mark in the long development 
of self-consciousness, the slow process which culminated 
in the emergence of the individual as a moral force, an 
individual appealing to conscience as an ultimate author- 
ity at whose mandate he may confront and arraign so- 
ciety. In this document, then, we discern the emergence 
of a new realm, the realm of social forces; for while it is 
the tragedy of the individual unjustly afflicted, his very 
affliction places him in the inexorable grip of social forces, 
calling for a crusade of social righteousness. The dawn 
of that social crusade and the regeneration which fol- 
lowed are still to be considered. 

1 Lines 154-5. 



The story of the Misanthrope, although that of an 
individual experience, nevertheless involves contempla- 
tion of society to whose failings this individual experience 
of the writer was largely due. But the subject himself 
remained the chief or exclusive concern. On the other 
hand, concern for social misfortune, the ability to con- 
template and discern the unworthiness of men, the calam- 
ities that befall society, and the chronic misery which 
afflicts men as a body also appear as the subject of dark 
and pessimistic reflections in this remarkable age of grow- 
ing self-consciousness and earliest disillusionment. A 
priest of Heliopolis, named Khekheperre-sonbu, born 
under Sesostris II (1906-1887 B. CfJ, "gave" expression to 
his sombre musings on society in a composition which 
was still circulating some four hundred years later when 
a scribe of the Eighteenth Dynasty copied it upon a 
board now preserved in the British Museum. 1 It is of 
especial interest, as indicating at the outset that such men 
of the Feudal Age were perfectly conscious that they were 
thinking upon new lines, and that they had departed far 

1 British Museum, 5645. Although long exhibited, its content was 
first discerned and published by Gardiner, in his Admonitions of an 
Egyptian Sage, as an Appendix, pp. 95-112 and pis. 17-18. The 
above rendering is chiefly that of Gardiner. 



from the wisdom of the fathers. The little tractate 
reads as follows: 

"The collection of words, the gathering of sayings, the 
pursuit of utterances with searching of heart, made by 
the priest of Heliopolis, . . . Khekheperre-sonbu, called 
Onkhu. He says: 'Would that I had unknown utter- 
ances, sayings that are unfamiliar, even new speech that 
has not occurred (before), free from repetitions, not the 
utterance of what has long 1 passed, which the ancestors 
spake. I squeeze out my breast l for what is in it, in dis- 
lodging all that I say; for it is but to repeat what has 
been said when what has (already) been said has been 
said. There is no ^support 1 for the speech of the ances- 
tors when the descendants find it. . . ." 

"'I have spoken this in accordance with what I have 
seen, beginning with the first men down to those who 
shall come after. Would that I might know what others 
have not known, even what has not been repeated, that 
I might speak them and that my heart might answer me; 
that I might make clear to it (my heart) concerning my 
ill, that I might throw off the burden that is on my 

"'I am meditating on the things that have happened, 
the events that have occurred in the land. Transforma- 
tions go on, it is not like last year, one year is more bur- 
densome than the next. . . . Righteousness is cast out, 
iniquity is in the midst of the council-hall. The plans of 
the gods are violated, their dispositions are disregarded. 
The land is in distress, mourning is in every place, towns 
and districts are in lamentation. All men alike are under 
wrongs; as for respect, an end is made of it. The lords 
of quiet are disquieted. A morning comes every day and 
1 Literally "body" or "belly," the seat of mind. 


turns back again to what has been (formerly). When I 
would speak '"thereof"', my limbs are heavy laden. I am 
distressed because of my heart, it is suffering to hold my 
peace concerning it. Another heart would bow down, 
(but) a brave heart in distress is the companion of its 
lord. Would that I had a heart able to suffer. Then 
would I rest in it. I would load it with words of . . . 
that I might dislodge through it my malady.' " 

"He said to his heart: 'Come then, my heart, that I 
may speak to thee and that thou mayest answer for me 
my sayings and mayest explain to me that which is in 
the land. ... I am meditating on what has happened. 
Calamities come in to-day, to-morrow Afflictions 1 are not 
past. All men are silent concerning it, (although) the 
whole land is in great disturbance. Nobody is free from 
evil; all men alike do it. Hearts are sorrowful. He 
who gives commands is as he to whom commands are 
given; the heart of both of them is content. Men awake 
to it in the morning daily, (but) hearts thrust it not away. 
The fashion of yesterday therein is like to-day and re- 
sembles it r because of 1 many things. . . . There is none 
so wise that he perceives, and none so angry that he 
speaks. Men awake in the morning to suffer every day. 
Long and heavy is my malady. The poor man has no 
strength to save himself from him that is stronger than 
he. It is painful to keep silent concerning the things 
heard, (but) it is suffering to reply to the ignorant man. 
To criticise an utterance causes enmity, (for) the heart 
receives not the truth, and the reply to a matter is 
not endured. All that a man desires is his own utter- 
ance. . . .'" 

"'I speak to thee, my heart; answer thou me, (for) 
a heart assailed is not silent. Lo, the affairs of the ser- 


vant are like (those of) the master. Manifold is the bur- 
den upon thee."' 

Here is a man deeply stirred by the corruption of his 
fellows. He contemplates society as a whole, and while 
he constantly gives expression to his own misery in view 
of such a prospect, it is not his own suffering which is 
the chief burden of his utterance. His concern is for 
society, shackled by its own inertia, incapable of discern- 
ing its own misery, or, if at all conscious of it, without 
the initiative to undertake its own regeneration. Many 
of his reflections might find appropriate place in the 
mouth of a morally sensitive social observer of our own 
times. It is evident, then, that we have reached an age 
when for the first time in history men have awakened 
to a deep sense of the moral unworthiness of society. 
Nor was this conviction confined to the reflections of an 
humble Heliopolitan priest. It speaks also in the disil- 
lusionment of Amenemhet I, the great founder of the dy- 
nasty under which these momentous developments in 
thought were taking place. He strikes the same sombre 
note to which, as we have seen, even the harper at their 
feasts attuned his instrument. This king has left us a 
brief word of counsel addressed to his son, Sesostris I, 
who was to succeed him— counsel very evidently uttered 
after a base attempt upon the old king's life by those 
whom he trusted. 1 

1 The text is preserved in seven corrupt hieratic manuscripts of 
the Empire dating from the age near the end of the reign of Ramses II. 
The latest and best treatment and text are by Griffith (Zeitschr. 
fiir aegyptische Sprache, 34, 35-49). An excellent translation of the 
clearer passages by Erman in Aus den Papyrus des koeniglichen 
Museums zu Berlin, 44-45. The above version is indebted to both; 
see BAR, I, 474-483. For the old bibliography see Maspero, Dawn 
of Civilization, 467, n. 2. 


"He saith, while distinguishing righteousness, 
For his son 

Hearken to that which I say to thee, 

That thou mayest be king of the earth, 

That thou mayest be ruler of the lands, 

That thou mayest increase good. 

^Harden] thyself against all subordinates. 

The people give heed to him who terrorizes them. 

Approach them not alone, 

Fill not thy heart with a brother, 

Know not a friend, 

Nor make for thyself intimates, 

Wherein there is no end. 

When thou sleepest, guard for thyself thine own heart; 

For a man has no people 

In the day of evil. 

I gave to the beggar, I nourished the orphan; 

I admitted the insignificant as well as him who was of great account. 

(But) he who ate my food made insurrection; 

He to whom I gave my hand aroused fear therein." 

This is all followed by the story of the attempt on his 
life, an incident which accounts to some extent for the 
disillusionment of the embittered old king. 

The unrelieved pessimism of the Misanthrope, of our 
Heliopolitan priest, and of Amenemhet I was not, how- 
ever, universal. There were men who, while fully recog- 
nizing the corruption of society, nevertheless dared dream 
of better days. Another moral prophet of this great age 
has put into dramatic setting not only his passionate 
arraignment of the times, but also constructive admoni- 
tions looking toward the regeneration of society and the 
golden age that might ensue. This, perhaps the most 
remarkable document of this group of social and moral 
tractates of the Feudal Age, may be called the Admoni- 


tions of Ipuwer. 1 The beginning of the papyrus contain- 
ing the narrative introduction setting forth the circum- 
stances under which the sage utters his reflections is 
unfortunately lost. The situation in its chief externals 
is, however, clear. The wise man Ipuwer, in the presence 
of the king himself and some others, possibly the assem- 
bled court, delivers a long and impassioned arraignment 
of the times concluding with counsel and admonition. A 
brief rejoinder by the king follows, and a few words of 
reply by the sage conclude the pamphlet. Of the long 
oration by the wise man, constituting the bulk of the 
document, over two-thirds is occupied by this arraign- 
ment; that is, nearly ten out of nearly fourteen pages. 
This indictment displays no logical arrangement of con- 
tent, though there has been evident effort to dispose the 
utterances of the sage in strophic form, each strophe 
beginning with the same phrase, just as in the poems of the 
Misanthrope. In the following paragraphs we shall en- 
deavor to summarize by subjects the chief content of 
the arraignment, with sufficient quotation to indicate the 
character of the wise man's utterances. The fragmen- 
tary condition of the papyrus, and the intense difficulty 

1 So Gardiner. A papyrus in the Leiden Museum, No. 344. It 
is 378 centimetres long and 18 centimetres high, and contains seven- 
teen pages of writing. Although early published by Leemans in his 
Aegyptische Monumenten (pis. cv-cxiii), it is in such a bad state of 
preservation, and is furthermore so obscure and difficult in language 
and subject-matter, that it resisted the attempts of scholars to de- 
termine its content until 1903, when H. O. Lange published a 
sketch of the document, with selected translations, showing it to be 
a socio-prophetic tractate: Prophezeiungen eines aegyptischen Weisen, 
in Sitzungsber. der Kgl. Preuss. Akad., 1903, 601 ff. In 1909 the 
papyrus was published in extenso, in what will remain the standard 
edition, by Alan H. Gardiner (The Admonitions of an Egyptian 
Sage, Leipzig, 1909), with fuller discussion and closer determination 
of the exact character of the document. 


of the language employed make a continuous translation, 
even with copious commentary, quite out of the question. 1 

With searching vision the sage sweeps his eye over the 
organized life of the Nile-dwellers and finds all in con- 
fusion. Government is practically suspended, "the laws 
of the judgment-hall are cast forth, men walk upon 
[them] in the public places, the poor break them open 
in the midst of the streets. Indeed, the poor man (thus) 
attains to the power of the Divine Ennead; that (old 
and respected) procedure of the Houses of the Thirty 
(Judges) is divulged. Indeed, the great judgment-hall is 
•"thronged 1 , poor men go and come in the Great Houses 
(law-courts)" (6, 9-12). "Indeed, as for the Splendid 1 
judgment-hall, its writings are carried away; the private 
office that was is exposed. . . . Indeed, departmental 
offices are opened, their writings are carried away, 2 
(so that) serfs become lords of r serfs\ Indeed, officials 
are slain, their writings are carried away. Woe is me 
for the misery of this time. Indeed, the scribes of the 
•produce"!, their writings are rejected; the grain of Egypt 
is any comer's" (6, 5-9). "Behold, the district councils 
of the land are expelled from the land, the . . . are 
expelled from the royal houses" (7, 9-10). 

This disorganization of government is due to a state 
of violence and warfare within the land. "A man smites 
his brother of the same mother. What is to be done?" 

1 The above translations are chiefly those of Gardiner, who has 
been commendably cautious in his renderings. Besides his own 
thorough work on the document, he has incorporated the proverbi- 
ally penetrating observations and renderings of Sethe. 

2 This was particularly heinous from the orderly Egyptian's point 
of view; the withdrawing of writings and records from the public 
offices for purposes of evidence or consultation was carefully regu- 
lated. The regulations governing the vizier's office have survived; 
see BAR, II, 684. 


(5, 10). " Behold a man is slain by the side of his brother, 
while he (the brother) forsakes 1 him to save his own 
limbs" (9, 3). "A man regards his son as his enemy" 
(1, 5). "A man goes to plough bearing his shield. . . . 
Indeed, . . . the archer is ready, the violent is in every 
place. There is no man of yesterday" (2, 2). "Behold 
the man (who gains) a noble lady as wife, her father 
protects him; he who is without [such protection], they 
slay him" (8, 8-9). "Blood is everywhere; there is no 
lack 1 of death; tne swathing (of the dead) speaks, before 
one comes near it" (2, 6). "Behold a few lawless men 
are endeavoring to deprive the land of the kingship. Be- 
hold men are endeavoring to revolt against the Urseus 
(the royal serpent) . . . which pacifies the Two Lands" 
(7, 2-4). "Indeed, Elephantine and ^hinis 1 are the 
^domain 1 ] of Upper Egypt, (but) civil war pays no rev- 
enues" (3, 10-11). 

To this condition of disorganization and revolt within 
are added the terrors of foreign invasion. "Indeed, the 
desert is in the land; the districts (of Egypt) are devas- 
tated; foreign bowmen come to Egypt" (3, 1). "Indeed, 
the Marshes (of the Delta) throughout are not hidden. 
Although Lower Egypt is proud of (its) trodden high- 
ways, what is to be done? . . . Behold, it is r in the hand 1 
of those who knew it not like those who knew it. Asi- 
atics are skilled in the workmanship of the Marshes" 
(4, 5-8). 

A prey to internal disorder and revolt, helpless before 
the raids of the Asiatics on the eastern frontiers of the 
Delta, the property of Egypt is destroyed and the eco- 
nomic processes of the land cease. "Behold, all the 
craftsmen, they do no work; the enemies of the land im- 
poverish its crafts. [Behold, he who reaped] the har- 


vest knows naught of it; he who has not ploughed [ r fills 
his granaries. When the harvest 1 ] occurs, it is not re- 
ported. The scribe [ r idles in his bureau, there is no work 
for 1 ] his hands therein" (9, 6-8). "Indeed, when the 
Nile overflows, no one ploughs for him (the Nile). Every 
man says, 'We know not what has happened in the land' " 
(2, 3). "Behold, cattle are left straying; there is none 
gathering them together. Every man brings for himself 
those that are branded with his name" (9, 2-3). As 
meat thus disappears, men eat "of herbs washed down 
with water. . . . Indeed, grain has perished on every 
side. Men are deprived of clothing, '"perfumes 1 , and 
ointments. All men say, 'There is none/ The store- 
house is laid waste; its keeper is stretched on the ground" 
(6, 1-4). "Civil war pays no taxes. Scanty are '"grain 1 , 
charcoal, . . . * the labor of the craftsmen. . . . For 
what is a treasury without its revenues?" (3, 10-11). 

Under such economic conditions at home, foreign com- 
merce decays and disappears. "Men sail not northward 
to [Byb]los to-day. What shall we do for cedars for 
our mummies, with the tribute of which priests are 
buried; and with the oil of which [princes] are embalmed 
as far as Keftyew. 2 They return no more. Scanty is 
gold, ended are the . . . of all crafts. . . . What a great 
thing that the natives of the oases (still) come bearing 
their festal produce!" (3, 6-9) . 3 

Such conditions might be expected, for the public safety 
of men and merchandise has vanished. "Although the 

1 Three sorts of wood follow. 

2 Vocalize Kaftoyew, Caphtor (as first suggested by Spiegelberg), 
that is Crete. 

3 This last remark is of course ironical in reference to the fact 
that the only traffic with the outside world left to Egypt is the scanty 
produce of the oases which still filters in. 


roads are guarded, men sit in the thickets until the be- 
nighted traveller comes, in order to seize his burden. 
That which is upon him is taken away. He is beaten 
with blows of a stick and wickedly slain" (5, 11-12). 
Indeed, the land turns around (the order of things is 
overturned) as does a potter's wheel. He who was a 
robber is lord of wealth, [ r the rich man 1 ] is (now) one 
plundered (2, 8-9). " Indeed, chests of ebony are smashed 
and luxurious acacia-wood is split into 'billets 1 " (3, 4-6). 
"Indeed, gates, columns, and 'walls 1 are burned up" (2, 10). 
As in the Song of the Harper and the despair of the Mis- 
anthrope, the provisions for the dead are violated and 
serve no purpose. "Behold, though one be buried as a 
(royal) falcon on the bier, that which the pyramid con- 
cealed (the sepulchre) has become empty" (7, 2). When 
even the royal tombs are not respected men make but 
little attempt to build a tomb. " Indeed, many dead are 
buried in the river; the stream is a tomb and the em- 
balming place has become a stream" (2, 6-7). "Those 
who were in the embalming place are laid away on the 
high ground" (instead of in a tomb) (4, 4). "Behold, the 
owners of tombs are driven out upon the high ground." 
Thus, as the figure of the "potter's wheel" suggests, 
all is overturned. Social conditions have suffered com- 
plete upheaval. In the longest series of utterances all 
similarly constructed, in the document, the sage sets forth 
the altered conditions of certain individuals and classes 
of society, each utterance contrasting what was with 
what now is. "Behold, he who had no yoke of oxen is 
(now) possesser of a herd; and he who found no plough- 
oxen for himself is (now) owner of a herd. Behold, he 
who had no grain is (now) owner of granaries; and he 
who used to fetch grain for himself, (now) has it issued 


(from his own granary)" (9, 3-5). "Behold, the owner 
of wealth (now) passes the night thirsting (instead of ban- 
queting) ; and he who used to beg for himself his dregs is 
now owner of Overflowing 1 bowls. Behold, the owners of 
robes are (now) in rags; and he who wove not for him- 
self is (now) owner of fine linen" (7, 10-12). Thus the 
sage goes on with one contrast after another. In such a 
state as this society is perishing. "Men are few; he who 
lays away his fellow in the earth is everywhere" (2, 13-14). 
"There is dearth of women and no conception (of chil- 
dren); Khnum (creator of man) fashions not (men) by 
reason of the state of the land." 

In the general ruin moral decadence is, of course, in- 
volved, though it is not emphasized as the cause of the 
universal misery. "The man of virtues walks in mourn- 
ing by reason of what has happened in the land" (1, 8); 
others say, "If I knew where the god is, then would I 
make offerings to him" (5, 3). "Indeed, [righteousness] 
is in the land (only) in this its name; what men do, in 
appealing to it, is iniquity" l (5, 3-4). Little wonder that 
there is universal despair. "Indeed, mirth has perished, 
it is no longer made; it is sighing that is in the land, 
mingled with lamentations" (3, 13-14). "Indeed, great 
and small [say], 'I would that I might die.' Little chil- 
dren say, ' Would there were none to keep me alive 
(4, 2-3). "Indeed, all small cattle, their hearts weep; the 
cattle sigh by reason of the state of the land" (5, 5). 
The sage cannot view all this dispassionately; he, too, is 

1 The restoration of "righteousness" is due to Sethe, and in view 
of its frequent occurrence, as the opposite of the word here used as 
"inquity" (ysft), from the Pyramid Texts on, the restoration fits 
the context admirably, but Gardiner states that the traces in the 
lacuna do not favor the restoration. The original hieratic of the 
passage is not included in his publication. 


deeply affected by the universal calamity and prays for 
the end of all. "Would that there might be an end of 
men, that there might be no conception, no birth. If 
the land would but cease from noise, and strife be no 
more" (5, 12-6, 1). He even chides himself that he has 
not endeavored to save the situation before. " Would that 
I had uttered my voice at that time, that it might save 
me from the suffering wherein I am" (6, 5). "Woe is 
me for the misery in this time!" (6, 8). 

Such is the dark picture painted by the Egyptian sage. 
This arraignment, occupying, as we have said, nearly two- 
thirds of the document as preserved, must be regarded 
as setting forth the conditions in Egypt at a very definite 
time. The close relationship in language, thought, and 
point of view between this tractate of Ipuwer and the 
other social pamphlets known to belong to the Feudal 
Age, leave little question as to the date of our document. 
The unhappy state of Egypt depicted by the sage must 
have existed in the obscure and little-known period im- 
mediately preceding the Feudal Age (Middle Kingdom). 

As might be imagined from the intense grief with which 
Ipuwer views the misery of the time, he is not content 
to leave his generation in this hopeless state. He now 
turns to exhortation, urging his countrymen first to de- 
stroy the enemies of the king. Five short utterances 
(10, 6-11) begin with the words: "Destroy the enemies 
of the august residence" (of the king), although the 
papyrus is too fragmentary at this point to determine 
clearly what followed each repetition of the injunction. 
At least eight similar injunctions follow, each beginning 
with the word "Remember!" (10, 12-11, 10) and calling 
upon all men to resume all sacred observances on behalf 
of the gods. This second group of exhortations is gradu- 


ally involved in ever-increasing obscurity as the fragmen- 
tary condition of the papyrus grows worse. Out of a 
large lacuna at last 1 there emerges the most important 
passage in the entire speech of the sage, and one of the 
most important in the whole range of Egyptian literature. 

In this remarkable utterance the sage looks forward 
to the restoration of the land, doubtless as a natural con- 
sequence of the admonitions to reform which he has just 
laid upon the hearts of his countrymen. He sees the 
ideal ruler for whose advent he longs. That ideal king 
once ruled Egypt as the Sun-god, Re, and as the sage re- 
calls that golden age, he contrasts it with the iniquitous 
reign under which the land now suffers. " He brings cool- 
ing to the flame. It is said he is the shepherd 2 of all 
men. There is no evil in his heart. When his herds are 
few, he passes the day to gather them together, their hearts 
being fevered. 3 Would that he had discerned their char- 
acter in the first generation. Then would he have smit- 
ten evil. He would have stretched forth his arm against 
it. He would have smitten the r seed ] thereof and their 
inheritance. . . . Where is he to-day? Doth he sleep 
perchance? Behold his might is not seen" (11, 13-12, 6). 

While there is no unquestionably predictive element 
in this passage, it is a picture of the ideal sovereign, the 
righteous ruler with "no evil in his heart," who goes about 
like a "shepherd" gathering his reduced and thirsty herds. 

1 Latter part of p. 11. 

2 Or "herdman." The Sun-god is called "a valiant herdman 
who drives his cattle" in a Sun-hymn of the Eighteenth Dynasty 
(see below, p. 316), and this, it seems to me, makes quite certain 
Gardiner's conclusion (on other grounds) that this passage is a 
description of the reign of Re. 

3 This probably means thirsty, perhaps a symbol for afflicted. 
Compare the hearts of the cattle "weeping" above, p. 209. 


Such a righteous reign, like that of David, has been, and 
may be again. The element of hope, that the advent of 
the good king is imminent, is unmistakable in the final 
words: "Where is he to-day? Doth he sleep perchance? 
Behold his might is not seen." With this last utterance 
one involuntarily adds, "as yet." The peculiar signifi- 
cance of the picture lies in the fact that, if not the social 
programme, at least the social ideals, the golden dream 
of the thinkers of this far-off age, already included the 
ideal ruler of spotless character and benevolent purposes 
who would cherish and protect his own and crush the 
wicked. Whether the coming of this ruler is definitely 
predicted or not, the vision of his character and his work 
is here unmistakably lifted up by the ancient sage — lifted 
up in the presence of the living king and those assem- 
bled with him, that they may catch something of its splen- 
dor. This is, of course, Messianism nearly fifteen hundred 
years before its appearance among the Hebrews. 1 

1 Lange first called attention to the Messianic character of this 
passage. His interpretation, however, was that the passage defi- 
nitely predicts the coming of the Messianic king. Gardiner has suc- 
cessfully opposed Lange's conclusion as far as prediction is concerned, 
and by his full and careful commentary has contributed much to 
our understanding of the passage. But no student of Hebrew 
prophecy can follow Gardiner in his next step, viz., that by the elim- 
ination of the predictive element we deprive the document of its 
prophetic character. This is simply to import a modern English 
meaning of the word prophecy as prediction into the interpretation 
of these ancient documents, particularly Hebrew literature. Gar- 
diner's final conclusion is: "I must once more affirm that there is 
no certain or even likely trace of prophecies in any part of this book" 
(Admonitions, p. 17). In the same paragraph he states the "specific 
problem" of the document to be "the conditions of social and 
political well-being." This is, of course, the leading theme of 
Hebrew prophecy. On the basis of any sufficient definition of He- 
brew prophecy, including the contemplation of social and political 
evils, and admonitions for their amelioration, the utterances of 


In the mind of the sage the awful contrast between the 
rule of the ideal king and that of the living Pharaoh in 
whose presence he stands now calls forth the fiercest de- 
nunciation of his sovereign. Like Nathan 1 with his bit- 
ing words, "Thou art the man," he places the responsi- 
bility for all that he has so vividly recalled upon the 
shoulders of the king. "Taste, Knowledge, and Right- 
eousness are with thee," he says, (but) " it is strife which 
thou puttest in the land, together with the sound of tu- 
mult. Lo, one makes attack upon another. Men con- 
form to that which thou hast commanded. If three men 
go upon a road, they are found to be two, (for) they who 
are many slay the few. Is there a herdman who loves 
death, (that is, for his herds)? Wherefore thou com- 

Ipuwer are prophecy throughout (see infra, p. 215). With refer- 
ence to the " Messianic" passage above, its Messianic character 
does not in the slightest depend upon its predictive character. Gar- 
diner is surely right (against Lange) in making the long arraignment 
not prediction, but a description of actually existent conditions. 
The admonitions which follow, however, definitely look to the future, 
in which the sage expects the people to carry out his injunctions. 
The "Messianic" passage follows directly upon these admonitions, 
and itself is followed by a rebuke to the king merging into a picture 
which, in Gardiner's words, describes "the joy and prosperity of 
the land in a happier age" (ibid., p. 87). Indeed in Gardiner's own 
opinion the "Messianic" passage concludes with a "return to a con- 
sideration of the future prospects of Egypt," so that at the end "we 
touch firm ground in three sentences that clearly refer to the looked- 
for (but not necessarily prophesied) redeemer: 'Where is he to-day? 
Doth he sleep perchance? Behold ye, his might is not seen'" 
(ibid., p. 80). The parenthesis is Gardiner's, and what he means is, 
of course, that the "redeemer" is looked for, but not necessarily 
predicted. It is solely this entirely insufficient conception of Hebrew 
prophecy as "prediction" which eventuates in Gardiner's conclu- 
sion, "that there is too much uncertainty about the matter for it to 
be made the basis of any far-reaching conclusions as to the influence 
of Egyptian upon Hebrew literature" (ibid., p. 15). The "uncer- 
1 The similarity was noticed by Gardiner. 


mandest to make answer: 'It is because one man loves, 
(but) another hates' . . . (Nay, I say) thou hast (so) 
done as to bring forth these things. Thou hast spoken 
lies" (12, 12-13, 2). Having thus given the king the lie 
in response to his supposed reply, the wise man for a 
moment reverts to description of the desolate condition 
of society which occupied him in the long arraignment. 
The progress of his thought, however, is toward the fut- 
ure betterment to which he admonished after the con- 
clusion of the arraignment, and his bitter denunciation 
of the king; now, therefore, the misery for which he is 
responsible merges into a final picture of "joy and pros- 
perity" (13, 9-14, 5) in eight strophes, each beginning 
with a refrain of somewhat uncertain meaning. 

The sage has completed his long address, and the king 
now actually replies, though we are unable to recover it 
from the broken fragments of the tattered page on which 

tainty," as Gardiner here specifies it, concerns solely Lange's in- 
terpretation of the "Messianic" passage as predictive; though even, 
according to Gardiner, the latter part of the J' Messianic" passage 
looks forward to a "redeemer" yet to come. The Messianic vision 
with the Hebrew prophets was often but a great hope, sometime3 
rising to conviction that the hope would be realized. It was a 
vision toward the realization of which they desired to contribute. 
It was but an early form of social idealism, which evidently began 
(so far as we know) in Egypt, and emerged in lofty form among the 
Hebrews also. A unique detachment and capacity to contemplate 
society, emerging for the first time in history in the Feudal Age in 
Egypt, produced these social tractates above discussed. If the 
story of the Two Brothers, after centuries of circulation in Egypt, 
reached Palestine to find embodiment in the tale of Joseph, it is 
more than possible that the pamphlets of Ipuwer and the men of 
his class similarly entered Palestine and suggested to the idealists 
of Israel the conception of the righteous king and redeemer/ I 
ought, perhaps, to add that in a letter to me Gardiner disclaims re- 
garding prediction as constituting "prophecy," but I have had to 
deal with his argument as I found it in his admirable volume. 


it appears. A brief reply of Ipuwer ensues, beginning, 
"That which Ipuwer said when he replied to the majesty 
of the sovereign." It is very obscure, but seems to re- 
mind the king ironically that he has but done what the 
inertia and indifference of a corrupt generation desired, 
and here, as Gardiner shows, the tractate probably ended. 
In recognizing the depths to which a degenerate and 
corrupt society and government have descended, our sage 
has much in common with the Misanthrope. The latter, 
however, found his individual fortunes so fatally involved 
in the general catastrophe that there was no hope, and he 
desired death as the only solution. Ipuwer, on the other 
hand, quite unmistakably looks toward a future redemp- 
tion of society. The appearance in this remote age of 
the necessary detachment and the capacity to contemplate 
society, things before unknown in the thought of man, is a 
significant phenomenon. Still more significant, however, 
is this vision of the possible redemption of society, and the 
agent of that redemption as a righteous king, who is to 
shield his own and to purge the earth of the wicked. This 
is but the earliest emergence of a social idealism which 
among the Hebrews we call " Messianism." Such a con- 
ception might go far in the early East. After centuries 
of circulation in Egypt, the tale picturing the trial of the 
virtue of a good youth, as we have it in the Story of the 
Two Brothers, passed over into Palestine, to be incor- 
porated in the mosaic which has descended to us as the 
story of Joseph. How such materials migrated among 
the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean has been demon- 
strated by the recent recovery of the Aramaic original of 
the Story of Akhikar. Under these circumstances it is 
more than possible that the imagination of the literary 
prophets of the Hebrews was first touched by some knowl- 


edge of the Egyptian vision of the ideal age and the ideal 
king set forth in such a tractate as that of Ipuwer, and 
wandering into Palestine, as did the Tale of the Two 

We see, then, that not all of the social thinkers at the 
court of the Pharaoh in the Feudal Age shared the un- 
qualified pessimism which we had thus far found in their 
earlier teachings; nor, on the other hand, did they follow 
exclusively the fair but elusive vision of this Messianic 
dreamer. Not an ideal king only, but a body of just 
officials should usher in the era of social justice in the 
thought of some. The men of this school as they scanned 
life, held wholesome and practical principles of right living 
applicable to the daily situation of the average member 
of the official class. These views have found expression 
in at least two tractates which have descended to us: 
The Eloquent Peasant and the Wisdom of Ptahhotep. The 
first, whose author, as so commonly in this impersonal 
age, we do not know, is in the form of a picturesque 
Oriental tale, conceived solely to furnish a dramatic set- 
ting for a series of disquisitions on the proper character 
and spirit of the just official, and the resulting social and 
administrative justice toward the poor. It is not a little 
interesting to discern this ancient thinker of four thousand 
years ago wrestling with a difficulty which has since then 
continued to be one of the most refractory problems of 
all administrators in the East, a problem which has not 
been wholly solved even under the skilled and experienced 
administration of England in Egypt at the present day. 

The tale of the Eloquent Peasant is as follows. 1 A 

1 The tale of the Eloquent Peasant is preserved in six papyri, three 
of which are now in the Berlin Museum (P. 10-199, P. 3023, P. 3025); 
one in the British Museum (Papj'rus Butler 527, Brit. Mus., No. 


peasant of the Fayum region in the Natron district, living 
in a village called the Salt-Field, loads a small train of 
donkeys with the produce of his village and goes down to 
Heracleopolis, near the mouth of the Fayum, to trade for 
grain. On the way thither he is obliged to pass the es- 
tablishment of one Thutenakht, a subordinate official 
among the people of Rensi, 1 who was grand steward of 
the Pharaoh himself, Heracleopolis being the royal resi- 
dence at the time in which the action is placed (Ninth or 
Tenth Dynasty) . Now, when Thutenakht sees the donkeys 
of the peasant approaching, he at once devises a plan for 
seizing them. Sending a servant hastily to the house, he 
secures thence some pieces of linen, which he spreads out 
in the highway so as to fill it entirely from the edge of the 
grain-field on the upper side to the water of the canal on 
the lower. The unsuspecting peasant approaches, as the 
tale, with a discernible touch of the writer's indignation, 
states, "on the way belonging to every one," which 
Thutenakht has thus blocked. Fearing the water below, 
the peasant turns upward to skirt the edge of the grain- 

10274, recto, containing only forty lines); and two in the Amherst 
collection (consisting of fragments belonging to Berlin, P. 3023 and 
P. 3025). The Berlin papyri, P. 3023 and P. 3025, were published 
by Lepsius, Denkmaeler, VI, 108-110. A final standard publication, 
including all three of the Berlin papyri, was issued by the Berlin 
Museum in 1908 {Die Klagen des Bauern, bearbeitet von F. Vogel- 
sang und Alan H. Gardiner, Leipzig, 1908). It contains a careful 
translation. See also Gardiner, Eine neue Handschrift des Sinu- 
hegedichtes (Sitzungsber. der Kgl. Preuss. Akad., 1907, p. 142), on the 
discovery of Berlin P. 10499. Papyrus Butler was published by 
Griffith in Proceedings of the Soc. of Bibl. Arch., XIV, 1892, pp. 
451 if. The Amherst fragments were published by Newberry in 
The Amherst Papyri, London, 1899. 

1 This name was formerly read "Meruitensi." The proper read- 
ing, "Rensi," was established by Sethe, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. 
Sprache, 49, 95 ff. 


field. As the donkeys pass, one of them nips a mouthful 
of the tempting grain, at once affording the wily Thu- 
tenakht the opportunity he desired. The peasant pathet- 
ically maintains the attitude and the speech of depreca- 
tory but not servile courtesy, until with loud complaint 
Thutenakht seizes the asses. Thereupon the peasant re- 
peats his former courteous remonstrance, but adds a bold 
protest. "My way is right. One side is blocked. I 
bring my ass along the edge thereof, and thou seizest him 
because he has plucked a mouthful of the grain. Now, I 
know the lord of this domain. It belongs to the grand 
steward, Meru's son, Rensi. Now, it is he who drives off 
every robber in this whole land. Shall I then be robbed in 
his domain ! " Infuriated by the peasant's boldness, Thute- 
nakht seizes a branch of green tamarisk, mercilessly beats 
his victim, and, in spite of the peasant's cries and protests, 
drives off the asses to his own quarters. After four days 
of fruitless pleading for the return of the asses, the un- 
happy peasant, all the time knowing that his family at 
home is on the verge of starvation, determines to apply 
to the grand steward himself, on whose domain the out- 
rage occurred. He is the more encouraged in so doing 
by the proverbial reputation for justice which the grand 
steward enjoys. As the peasant approaches the city, he 
fortunately meets the grand steward issuing from the 
shore-gate of his estate and going down to embark in his 
state barge on the canal. By the most ceremonious polite- 
ness and complete command of the current diplomacy of 
address, the peasant gains the ear of the great man for a 
moment as he passes, so that he sends a body-servant to 
hear the peasant's story. When the servant has returned 
and communicated Thutenakht's theft to Rensi, the 
grand steward lays the affair before his suite of officials. 


Their reply is the author's skilfully created occasion for 
bringing before the reader, without comment, the current 
and conventional treatment of such complaints of the 
poor in official circles. The colleagues of the grand 
steward at once range themselves on the side of their 
subordinate, the thievish Thutenakht. They reply to 
Rensi, with much indifference, that the case is probably 
one of a peasant who has been paying his dues to the wrong 
superior officer, and that Thutenakht has merely seized 
dues which rightfully belonged to him. They ask with 
indignation, "Shall Thutenakht be punished for a little 
natron and a little salt? (Or at most) let it be commanded 
him to replace it and he will replace it." It is character- 
istic of their class that they quite ignore the asses, the 
loss of which means starvation to the peasant and his 

Meantime the peasant stands by and hears his fatal 
loss thus slurred over and ignored by those in authority. 
The grand steward meanwhile stands musing in silence. 
It is a tableau which epitomizes ages of social history in 
the East: on the one hand, the brilliant group of the great 
man's sleek and subservient suite, the universal type of 
the official class; and, on the other, the friendless and 
forlorn figure of the despoiled peasant, the pathetic per- 
sonification of the cry for social justice. This scene is 
one of the earliest examples of that Oriental skill in set- 
ting forth abstract principles in concrete situations, so 
wonderfully illustrated later in the parables of Jesus. 
Seeing that the grand steward makes no reply, the 
peasant makes another effort to save his family and him- 
self from the starvation which threatens them all. He 
steps forward and with amazing eloquence addresses the 
great man in whose hands his case now rests, promising 


him a fair voyage as he embarks on the canal and voicing 
the fame of the grand steward's benevolence on which 
he had reckoned. " For thou art the father of the orphan, 
the husband of the widow, the brother of the forsaken, 
the kilt of the motherless. Let me put thy name in this 
land above every good law, leader free, from avarice, 
great man free from littleness, who destroys falsehood 
and brings about truth. Respond to the cry which my 
mouth utters, when I speak, hear thou. Do justice, thou 
who art praised, whom the praised praise. Relieve my 
misery. Behold me, I am heavy laden; prove me, lo I 
am in sorrow." 1 

The grand steward is so pleased with the peasant's 
extraordinary readiness in speech, that he leaves him 
without giving any decision in his case, and proceeds at 
once to the court, where he says to the king: "My lord, I 
have found one of these peasants who is verily beautiful 
of speech." The king, greatly pleased, charges the grand 
steward to lead the peasant on without giving him a de- 
cision, in order that he may deliver himself of further 
addresses. The king likewise commands that what the 
peasant says shall be carefully written down, and that 
meantime he shall be supplied with food and maintenance 
and that a servant be sent to his village to see that his 
family suffers no want in the interval. As a result of 
these arrangements, the peasant makes no less than eight 
successive appeals to Rensi. 

These addresses to the grand steward at first reflect 
the grievous disappointment of the peasant in view of the 
great man's reputation for unswerving justice. He there- 
fore begins his second address with reproaches, which 

x In the older Berlin papyrus the conclusion reads: "Count me 
(or 'prove me'), lo> I am few." 


Rensi interrupts with threats. The peasant, like Ipuwer 
in his arraignment of the king, is undaunted and con- 
tinues his reproof. The third speech reverts to praises 
like those of his first appeal to Rensi. "O grand steward, 
my lord ! Thou art Re, lord of the sky together with thy 
court. All the affairs of men (are thine). Thou art like 
the flood (inundation), thou art the Nile that makes green 
the fields and furnishes the waste lands. Ward off the 
robber, protect the wretched, become not a torrent 
against him who pleads. Take heed, (for) eternity draws 
near. Prefer acting as it is (proverbially) said, 'It is the 
breath of the nostrils to do justice' (or 'right, righteous- 
ness, truth'). Execute punishment on him to whom 
punishment is due, and none shall be like thy correctness. 
Do the balances err? Does the scale-beam swerve to one 
side? . . . Speak not falsehood, (for) thou art great (and 
therefore responsible). Be not light, (for) thou art 
weighty. Speak not falsehood, for thou art the balances. 
Swerve not, for thou art a correct sum. Lo, thou art at 
one with the balances. If they tip (falsely) thou tippest 
(falsely). . . . Thy tongue is the index (of the balances), 
thy heart is the weight, thy two lips are the beam thereof" 
(11. 140-167). 

These comparisons of the grand steward's character 
and functions with the balances appear repeatedly in the 
speeches of the peasant. 1 Their lesson is evident. The 
norm of just procedure is in the hands of the ruling class. 
If they fail, where else shall it be found? It is expected 
that they shall weigh right and wrong and reach a just 
decision with the infallibility of accurate balances. They 
form a symbol which became widely current in Egyptian 

1 It is a comparison which the great nobles of the Feudal Age 
were fond of using on their tomb stelae; e. g., BAR, I, 745, 531. 


life, till the scales appear as the graphic means of depict- 
ing the judgment of each soul in the hereafter. Indeed 
in the hands of blind Justice they have survived even into 
our own day. But this symbol had its origin among these 
social thinkers of the FeudaljAge in Egypt four thousand 
years ago. It should be noticed, too, that the peasant re- 
minds the grand steward of his own appearance before 
the judgment of the impartial balances. "Take heed," 
says he, " (for) eternity draws near." This is one of few 
appeals against injustice to the future responsibility of 
the oppressor. It is found once more also in this docu- 
ment, in the second speech of the peasant. 1 

The threats of the peasant now prove too keen for 
the grand steward as he stands before the palace, and 
he despatches two servants to flog the unhappy man. 
Nevertheless he awaits Rensi's coming, as he issues from 
the state temple of the residence, to address him in a 
fourth speech, and proceeds then in a fifth to even sharper 
denunciation. "Thou art appointed," he says, "to hear 
causes, to judge two litigants, to ward off the robber. 
But thou makest common cause with the thief. Men 
love thee, although thou art a transgressor. Thou art 
set for a dam for the afflicted, to save him from 
drowning." 2 

Still there is no response from Rensi, and the peasant 
begins a sixth address with renewed appeal to the great 
man's sense of justice and his reputation for benevolence. 
"O grand steward, my lord! 'Destroy 1 falsehood, bring 
about justice. Bring about every good thing, destroy 
[every evil] thing; like the coming of satiety, that it may 
end hunger; (or) clothing, that it may end nakedness; like 
the peaceful sky after the violent tempest, that it may 

i Berlin, P. 3023, 1. 95. 2 Ibid., 11. 234-8. 


warm those who suffer cold; like fire that cooks what is 
raw; like water that quenches thirst." l 

As Rensi remains unresponsive to this appeal, the 
wretched peasant is again goaded to denunciation. "Thou 
art instructed, thou art educated, thou art taught, but 
not for robbery. Thou art accustomed to do like all men 
and thy kin are (likewise) ensnared. (Thou) the recti- 
tude of all men, art the (chief) transgressor of the whole 
land. The gardener of evil, waters his domain with iniq- 
uity that his domain may bring forth falsehood, in order 
to flood the estate with wickedness." 2 Even such de- 
nunciation seems now to leave the grand steward en- 
tirely indifferent and the peasant approaches for his 
seventh speech. He begins with the usual florid enco- 
mium in which the grand steward is the "rudder of the 
whole land according to whose command the land sails," 3 
but turns soon to his own miserable condition. "My 
body is full, and my heart is burdened," he complains; 
"there is a break in the dam and the waters thereof rush 
out. (Thus) my mouth is opened to speak." Then as 
the indifference of this man of just and benevolent repu- 
tation continues, the unhappy peasant's provocation is 
such that the silence of the grand steward appears as 
something which would have aroused the speech of the 
most stupid and faltering of pleaders. "There is none 
silent whom thou wouldst not have roused to speech. 
There is none sleeping whom thou wouldst not have wak- 
ened. There is none unskilled whom thou wouldst not 
have made efficient. There is no closed mouth which 
thou wouldst not have opened. There is none ignorant 

1 Ibid., 11. 240-8. 

2 Ibid., 11. 260-5 = Berlin, P. 3025, 11. 14-20. 

3 Ibid., 11. 267-8. 


whom thou wouldst not have made wise. There is none 
foolish whom thou wouldst not have taught." l Unable 
to restrain the tide of his indignation, therefore, the peas- 
ant goes on to his eighth speech and continued denuncia- 
tion. "Thy heart is avaricious; it becomes thee not. 
Thou robbest; it profiteth thee not. . . . The officials 
who were installed to ward off iniquity are a refuge for 
the unbridled, (even) the officials who were installed to 
ward off falsehood." 2 The appeal to justice, however, 
is not abandoned, and the peasant returns to it in the 
most remarkable utterances in this remarkable tractate. 
"Do justice for the sake of the lord of justice . . . thou 
(who art) Pen and Roll and Writing Palette, (even) 
Thoth 3 who art far from doing evil. . . . For justice (or 
' righteousness, right, truth') is for eternity. It de- 
scends with him that doeth it into the grave, when he is 
placed in the coffin and laid in the earth. His name is 
not effaced on earth; he is remembered because of good. 
Such is the exact summation of the divine word." Upon 
these impressive words follows naturally the question 
whether, in spite of this, injustice is still possible; and 
so the peasant asks: "Do the balances indeed swerve? 
Do the scales indeed incline to one side?" Or is it merely 
that no decision at all has been reached to right the shame- 
ful wrong which he has suffered? And yet the just mag- 
istrate who might have righted it has been present from 
the beginning. "Thou hast not been sick, thou hast not 
fled, thou hast not r hidden thyself 1 ! (But) thou hast not 
given me requital for this good word which came out of 

1 Ibid., 11. 285-8. The negative has been omitted by the scribe in 
the second half (the relative clause) of each one of these sentences. 
This is doubtless due to the customary confusion in many languages 
in sentences where two negatives occur. 

2 Ibid., 11. 292-8. 3 God of writing and legal procedure. 


the mouth of Re himself: 'Speak the truth, do the truth. 1 
For it is great, it is mighty, it is enduring. The reward 
thereof shall find thee, and it shall follow (thee) unto 
blessedness hereafter.' " 2 

No response from Rensi follows these noble words. 
The peasant lifts up his voice again in a final despairing 
plea, his ninth address. He reminds the grand steward 
of the dangers of consorting with deceit; he who does so 
"shall have no children and no heirs on earth. As for 
him who sails with it (deceit), he shall not reach the land, 
and his vessel shall not moor at her haven. . . . There is 
no yesterday for the indifferent. There is no friend for 
him who is deaf to justice. There is no glad day for the 
avaricious. . . . Lo, I make my plea to thee, but thou 
hearest it not. I will go and make my plea because of 
thee to Anubis." In view of the fact that Anubis is a 
god of the dead, the peasant doubtless means that he 
goes to take his own life. The grand steward sends his 
servants to bring him back as he departs, and some un- 
intelligible words pass between them. Meantime, Rensi 
"had committed to a roll every petition (of the peasant) 
unto [this] day." It is supposably a copy of this roll 
which has descended to us; but, unfortunately, the con- 
clusion has been torn off. We can only discern that the 
roll prepared by Rensi's secretaries is taken by him to 
the king, who found "it more pleasant to (his) heart 
than anything in this whole land." 3 The king commands 

1 In such an utterance as this it is important to remember that 
"truth" is always the same word which the Egyptian employs for 
"right, righteousness, justice," according to the connection in which 
it is used. In such an injunction as this we cannot distinguish any 
particular one of these concepts to the exclusion of the rest. 

2 Ibid., 11. 307-322. The word rendered "blessedness hereafter" 
means "reverence," the state of the revered dead. 

3 The same words are used regarding the vizier's wisdom in Pap. 
Prisse (2, 6-7). See below, p. 228. 


the grand steward to decide the peasant's case, the at- 
tendants bring in the census-rolls, which determine where 
he officially belongs, his exact legal and social status, the 
number of people in his household, and the amount of 
his property. Less than a dozen broken words follow, 
from which it is probable that Thutenakht was punished, 
and that the possessions of that greedy and plundering 
official were bestowed upon the peasant. 

The high ideal of justice to the poor and oppressed 
set forth in this tale is but a breath of that wholesome 
moral atmosphere which pervades the social thinking of 
the official class. It is remarkable, indeed, to find these 
aristocrats of the Pharaoh's court four thousand years 
ago sufficiently concerned for the welfare of the lower 
classes to have given themselves the trouble to issue 
what are very evidently propaganda for a regime of jus- 
tice and kindness toward the poor. They were pam- 
phleteers in a crusade for social justice. They have made 
this particular pamphlet, too, very pleasant reading for 
the patrician class to whom it was directed. In spite of 
the constant obscurity of the language, the florid style, 
and the bold and extreme figures of speech, it enjoyed a 
place as literature of a high order in its day. It is evi- 
dently in the approved style of its age, and the pungent 
humor which here and there reaches the surface could 
but enhance the literary reputation of the tractate in the 
estimation of the humor-loving Egyptians. But it was 
literature with a moral purpose. 

It is probable that the Wisdom of Ptahhotep, 1 the other 

1 The Wisdom of Ptahhotep is preserved in five manuscripts: (1) 
the Papyrus Prisse in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Nos. 183- 
194; (2) the three papyri in the British Museum, Nos. 10371, 10435, 
and 10509; a wooden writing-tablet, or board, in the Cairo Museum, 
known as the Tablette Carnarvon, No. 41790. The Papyrus Prisse 
was published by the owner, E. Prisse D'Avennes (Facsimile d'un 


social tractate of the official class, did not enjoy the same 
popularity. It is not so clearly cast in the form of a tale, 
though it does not lack dramatic setting. Like the Elo- 
quent Peasant, the action is placed under an earlier king. 
Indeed, the most important manuscript of Ptahhotep pur- 
ports to contain also the wisdom of a still earlier sage 
who lived a thousand years before the Feudal Age. The 
composition attributed to the earlier wise man preceded 
that of Ptahhotep in the roll and probably formed its 
beginning and first half. All but a few passages at the 
end have been torn off, but its conclusion is instructive 
as furnishing part of the historical setting of earlier days 
in which this school of sages were wont to place their 
teachings. Following the last fourteen lines of his in- 
struction, all that is preserved, we find the conclusion 
of the unknown sage's life: 

"The vizier (for such he purports to have been) caused 
his children to be summoned, after he had discerned the 

papyrus egyptien, Paris, 1847). It was republished, together with 
all the other manuscripts (except B. M., 10509), by G. Jequier (Le 
Papyrus Prisse, et ses variantes, Paris, 1911). The Carnarvon 
tablet was published in transcription, with discussion of its relation 
to the Papyrus Prisse by Maspero, in Recueil de travaux, XXXI, 
146-153, and afterward by the Earl of Carnarvon in his beau- 
tiful volume, Five Years' Excavations at Thebes, Oxford Univ. Press, 
1912 (discussed by Griffith, pp. 36-37, and reproduced pi. xxvii). 
The five columns contained in Brit. Mus. Pap., No. 10509, were 
published by Budge, Facsimiles of Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in 
the British Museum, London, 1910, pis. xxxiv-xxxviii, pp. xvii-xxi. 
This reached me too late to be employed above. Like the other 
Wisdom literature, or semi-philosophical tractates discussed above, 
Papyrus Prisse is excessively difficult. The old translations, as their 
divergences from each other show, are too conjectural to be used 
with safety. An exhaustive study on the basis of modern gram- 
matical knowledge would undoubtedly render much of it intelligible, 
although a large proportion of it is too obscure and too corrupt in 
text ever to be translated with certainty. 


fashion of men and their character r came to him 1 . 1 . . . 
He said to them: 'As for everything that is in writing in 
this roll, hear it as I say it r as an added obligation 1 . ' They 
threw themselves upon their bellies, they read it accord- 
ing to that which was in writing. It was pleasanter to 
their hearts than anything that is in this whole land. 2 
Then they rose up and they sat down accordingly. Then 
the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Huni 
died, and the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower 
Egypt Snefru was established as excellent king in this 
whole land. Then Kegemne was appointed to be gov- 
ernor of the (residence) city and vizier. It (the book) 
is ended." 3 Presumably, the career of the nameless old 
vizier and sage of the Third Dynasty, into whose mouth 
the wisdom of the Twelfth Dynasty was put, ended with 
the life of his king and the advent of a new vizier. 4 It 
is evident that social ethics as taught by the sages of the 
Twelfth Dynasty (Feudal Age) was also commonly at- 
tributed by them to the viziers of the Pyramid Age, for 
we shall find that this was the case also with the Wisdom 
of Ptahhotep, which was the next roll taken up by the 
copyist as he resumed this pen, leaving an interval to 
mark the end of the old book which he had just finished. 
The Wisdom of Ptahhotep begins: "The instruction 
of the governor of the city and vizier, Ptahhotep, under 
the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, 
Isesi, who lives for ever and ever. The governor of the 
city and vizier Ptahhotep says, 'O king, my lord, in- 
firmity comes on, old age advances, the limbs weaken, 

1 On the rendering, see Gardiner, Admonitions, p. 107, n. 1. 

2 The same statement is made regarding the roll containing the 
speeches of the Eloquent Peasant. See above, p. 225. 

3 Papyrus Prisse, pp. 1 and 2. 

4 This vizier, Kegemne, was also a famous wise man. 


^feebleness 1 is renewed, strength perishes because of the 
languor of the heart (understanding). The mouth is 
silent and speaks not; the eyes wax small, the ears are 
dulled. The languid heart sleeps every day. The heart 
forgets, it remembers not yesterday. . . . That which is 
good becomes evil. All taste departs. That which old 
age does to people is evil in everything. The nostrils 
are^stopped up, they breathe not. It is evil whether one 
stands or sits. Let thy servant be commanded to furnish 
the staff of old age. 1 Let my son stand in my place, and 
let me instruct him according to the word of those who 
have heard the manner of the ancestors, that (word) 
which the forefathers served, (variant: "which the gods 
have heard")- May they do likewise for thee; may re- 
volt be suppressed among the people (of Egypt), may the 
Two Lands serve thee.'" 

"Said his majesty: ' Instruct him after the word of 
old. May he do marvels among the children of the 
princes. . . .'" 

The Wisdom of Ptahhotep then purports to have been 
uttered by a historical personage on a particular occasion. 
In the Fifth Dynasty, to which king Isesi belonged, there 
was indeed a line of viziers named Ptahhotep, who trans- 
mitted the office from father to son. The reign of Isesi 
fell about five hundred years earlier than the Feudal 
Age in which we find his wise vizier's wisdom in circula- 
tion. Ptahhotep petitions the king to appoint his son to 
the vizierial office in his place, because of advancing old 
age, the ills of which he graphically enumerates. In order 

1 Literally "old man's staff," which is a technical term for son and 
heir or successor. See BAR, I, 692, and Griffith in the notes on 
Bersheh, I, pi. xxxiii. What is meant is, that the vizier, as the nar- 
rative shows, desires to be commanded to instruct his son as his 


that his son may be informed in the duties of so important 
an office, the vizier craves of the king permission to in- 
struct him. While it is characteristic of the attitude of 
the inner official circle that the wisdom communicated 
should be designated as that which has descended from 
the fathers, its cautious mandates for right and whole- 
some living and for discreet official conduct may quite 
conceivably represent the sum total of the ripe experience 
of many generations of official life. While such men as 
the Misanthrope, Khekheperre-sonbu, and to a large ex- 
tent also even Ipuwer had lost all confidence in the con- 
ventional virtue of the official world, the doctrines of the 
Eloquent Peasant and the Wisdom of Ptahhotep reveal 
to us that at least a nucleus of the best men of the official 
class and the court still felt confidence in the good old 
manner of living which had come down from their pred- 
ecessors, if carefully conserved, and the principles of 
virtue persistently inculcated. Like all such fancied con- 
servation, it contains clear evidences of the current and 
modern point of view, so much so indeed that there is 
ground for another interpretation of the historical setting, 
namely, that it was used merely to give prestige to a set 
of teachings which were for the most part modern. If so, 
the device is in sharp contrast with the open avowal of 
Khekheperre-sonbu that he sought new views and words 
which had not become hackneyed by generations of use. 

Having received the king's permission, Ptahhotep enters 
upon the instruction of his son. "Beginning of the say- 
ings of the good word which the hereditary prince, the 
count, the divine father, the priest, the eldest son of the 
king, of his body, the governor of the city, the vizier, 
Ptahhotep said, as instruction of the ignorant to knowl- 
edge, according to the correctness of the good word, as a 


profitable thing for him who is obedient to it, and as an 
evil thing for him who transgresses it." l 

The introduction concludes with a short paragraph on 
the desirability of humility in wisdom in spite of its high 
value. Then begin the forty-three paragraphs into which 
the Wisdom of Ptahhotep is divided. There is not space 
here either for the entire text of this excessively difficult 
tractate or for the commentary necessary to make it 
intelligible to the modern reader. Nor even so, on the 
basis of our modern knowledge of the language, is it pos- 
sible to render the document as a whole. 2 

The following table of the rubrics heading the para- 
graphs and suggesting in each case the subject discussed 
will serve, however, to indicate the ground which the 
wise man endeavored to cover. Where distinctly ethical 
problems are involved I have added to the rubric as much 
of the text as I found intelligible. 

1. "If thou findest a wise man in his time, a leader of 
understanding more excellent than thou, bend thy arms 
and bow thy back" 3 (5, 10-12). 

2. "If thou findest a wise man in his time, thy equal, 
... be not silent when he speaks evil. Great is the ap- 
proval by those who hear, and thy name will be good in 
the knowledge of the princes" (5, 13-14). 

3. " If thou findest a wise man in his time, a poor man 

J The Carnarvon Tablet ends here. It furnishes some valuable 
variants which have been incorporated above. 

2 We very much need an exhaustive treatment of the text, with 
careful word studies such as Gardiner has prepared for the Admoni- 
tions of Ipuwer. The summary offered above makes no pretension 
to rest upon any such study of the text, but perhaps presents enough 
for the purposes of this volume. See also Griffith, in Warner's 
Library of the World's Best Literature. 

3 These references include the entire paragraph in each case. All 
refer to Pap. Prisse. 


and not thy equal, be not overbearing against him when 
he is unfortunate" (6, 1-2). 

4. "If thou art a leader (or 'administrator') issuing 
ordinances for the multitude, seek for thee every excellent 
matter, that thy ordinance may endure without evil 
therein. Great is righteousness (truth, right, justice), 
enduring . . .; it has not been disturbed since the time 
of Osiris" (6,3-7). 

5. "Put no fear (of thee?) among the people. . . . 
What the god commands is that which happens. There- 
fore live in the midst of quiet. What they (the gods?) 
give comes of itself" (6, 8-10). 

6. " If thou art a man of those who sit by the seat of a 
man greater than thou, take what (food) he gives, . . . 
look at what is before thee, and bombard x him not with 
many glances (don't stare at him). . . . Speak not to 
him until he calls. One knows not what is unpleasant to 
(his) heart. Speak thou when he greets thee, and what 
thou sayest will be agreeable to (his) heart" (6, 11-7, 3). 

7. " If thou art a man of r those who 1 enter, whom (one) 
prince sends to (another) prince, . . . execute for him 
the commission according as he saith. Beware of •alter- 
ing 1 a word which (one) prince ^speaks 1 to (another) prince, 
by displacing the truth with the like of it" (7, 3-5). 

8. " If thou ploughest and there is growth in the field, 
the god gives it (as) increase in thy hand. Satisfy not 
thine own mouth beside thy kin" (7, 5-6). 

9. "If thou art insignificant, follow an able man and 
all thy proceedings shall be good before the god" (7, 7-8). 

10. " Follow thy desire as long as thou livest. Do not 
more than is told (thee). Shorten not the time of follow- 
ing desire. It is an abomination to encroach upon the 

, l The word really means " to shoot." 


time thereof. ^Take 1 no ^care 1 daily beyond the main- 
tenance of thy house. When possessions come, follow 
desire, (for) possessions are not complete when he (the 
owner) is ^harassed 1 " (7, 9-10). 

11. "If thou art an able man" (give attention to the 
conduct of thy son) (7, 10-8, 1). 

12. "If thou art in the judgment-hall, standing or sit- 
ting" (8, 2-6). 

13. "If thou art together with people" (8, 6-11). 

14. "Report thy procedure without ^reservation 1 . Pre- 
sent thy plan in the council of thy lord" (8, 11-13). 

15. "If thou art a leader" (or "administrator") 
(8, 14-9, 3). 

16. "If thou art a leader (or ' administrator'), hear 
'quietly 1 the speech of the petitioner. He who is suffering 
wrong desires that his heart be cheered to do that on ac- 
count of which he has come. ... It is an ornament of 
the heart to hear kindly" (9, 3-6). 

17. "If thou desirest to establish friendship in a house, 
into which thou enterest as lord, as brother, or as friend, 
wheresoever thou enterest in, beware of approaching the 
women. ... A thousand men are undone for the enjoy- 
ment of a brief moment like a dream. Men gain (only) 
death for knowing them" (9, 7-13). 

18. "If thou desirest that thy procedure be good, 
withhold thee from all evil, beware of occasion of avarice. 
... He who enters therein does not get on. It corrupts 
fathers, mothers, and mother's brothers. It ^divides 1 wife 
and man; it is plunder (made up) of everything evil; it 
is a bundle of everything base. Established is the man 
whose standard is righteousness, who walks according to 
its way. He is used to make his fortune thereby, (but) 
the avaricious is houseless" (9, 13-10, 5). 


19. "Be not avaricious in dividing. . . . Be not avari- 
cious toward thy kin. Greater is the fame of the gentle 
than (that of) the harsh" (10, 5-8). 

20. " If thou art successful, establish thy house. Love 
thy wife in husbandly embrace, fill her body, clothe her 
back. The recipe for her limbs is ointment. Gladden 
her heart as long as thou livest. She is a profitable field 
for her lord" (10, 8-12). * 

21. "Satisfy those who enter to thee (come into thy 
office) with that which thou hast" (11, 1-4). 

22. "Repeat not a word of 'hearsay 1 " (11, 5-7). 

23. "If thou art an able man who sits in the council of 
his lord, summon thy understanding to excellent things. 
Be silent" (for speech is difficult) (11, 8-11). 

24. "If thou art a strong man, establish the respect of 
thee by wisdom and by quietness of speech" (11, 12-12, 6). 

25. "'Approach 1 not a prince in his time" 2 (12, 6-9). 

26. "Instruct a prince (or 'official') in that which is 
profitable for him" (12, 9-13). 

27. " If thou art the son of a man of the council, com- 
missioned to content the multitude, ... be not partial. 
Beware lest he (the man of the multitude?) say, 'His plan 
is ( r that of 1 ) the princes. He utters the word in partiality " 

28. "If thou art gentle In 1 a matter that occurs" 
(13, 4-5). 

29. " If thou becomest great after thou wert little, and 
gettest possessions after thou wert formerly poor in the 
city, ... be not 'proud 1 -hearted because of thy wealth. 
It has come to thee as a gift of the god" (13, 6-9). 

1 Mohammed makes essentially the same remark in the Koran. 

2 "In his time" is seemingly an idiom for some particular mood. 
See also paragraphs 1-3 above. 


30. "Bend thy back to thy superior, thy overseer of 
the king's house, and thy house shall endure because of 
his (or 'its') possessions and thy reward shall be in the 
place thereof. It is evil to show disobedience to a supe- 
rior. One lives as long as he is gentle" (13, 9-14, 4). 

31. "Do not practise corruption of children" (14, 4-6). 

32. "If thou searchest the character of a friend, . . . 
transact the matter with him when he is alone" (14, 6-12). 

33. "Let thy face be bright as long as thou livest. r As 
for what goes out of the storehouse, it comes not in again; 
and as for loaves (already) distributed, he who is con- 
cerned therefor has still an empty stomach 1 " ("There is 
no use crying over spilt milk?") (14, 12-15, 2). 

34. "Know thy merchants when thy fortunes are evil" 
(15, 2-5). 

35. Quite uncertain (15, 5-6). 

36. "If thou takest a wife" (15, 6-8). 

37. "If thou hearkenest to these things which I have 
said to thee, all thy plans will progress. As for the matter 
of the righteousness thereof, it is their worth. The memory 
thereof shall •circulate 1 in the mouths of men, because of 
the beauty of their utterances. Every word will be car- 
ried on and not perish in this land forever. ... He who 
understands 'discretion 1 is profitable in establishing that 
through which he succeeds on earth. A wise man is r sat- 
isfied 1 by reason of that which he knows. As for a prince 
of good qualities, r they are in 1 his heart and his tongue. 
His lips are right when he speaks, his eyes see, and his 
ears together hear what is profitable for his son. Do 
right (righteousness, truth, justice), free from lying" 
(15, 8-16, 2). 

38. "Profitable is hearkening for a son that hearkens. 
. . . How good it is when a son receives that which his 


father says. He shall reach advanced age thereby. A 
hearkener is one whom the god loves. Who hearkens not 
is one whom the god hates. It is the heart (= under- 
standing) which makes its possessor a hearkener or one 
not hearkening. The life prosperity and health of a man 
is his heart. The hearkener is one who hears and speaks. 
He who does what is said, is one who loves to hearken. 
How good it is when a son hearkens to his father! How 
happy is he to whom these things are said! . . . His 
memory is in the mouth of the living who are on earth 
and those who shall be" (16, 3-12). 

39. " If the son of a man receives what his father says, 
none of his plans will miscarry. Instruct as thy son one 
who hearkens, who shall be successful in the judgment of 
the princes, who directs his mouth according to that 
which is said to him. . . . How many mishaps befall him 
who hearkens not! The wise man rises early to establish 
himself, while the fool is Scourged 1 " (16, 13-17, 4). ^ 

40. " As for the fool who hearkens not, he accomplishes 
nothing. He regards wisdom as ignorance, and what is 
profitable as diseased. ... His life is like death thereby, 
... he dies, living every day. Men pass by (avoid?) 
his qualities, because of the multitude of evils upon him 
every day" (17, 4-9). 

41. "A son who hearkens is a follower of Horus. He 
prospers after he hearkens. He reaches old age, he at- 
tains reverence. He speaks likewise to his (own) chil- 
dren, renewing the instruction of his father. Every man 
who instructs is like his sire. He speaks with his chil- 
dren; then they speak to their children. Attain char- 
acter, . . . make righteousness to flourish and thy chil- 
dren shall live" (17, 10-18, 12). 

42. Concerns "thy heart" (understanding) and "thy 


mouth." "Let thy attention be steadfast as long as thou 
speakest, whither thou directest thy speech. May the 
princes who shall hear say, ' How good is that which comes 
out of his mouth!'" (18, 12-19, 3). 

43. "So do that thy lord shall say to thee, 'How good 
is the instruction of his father from whose limbs he came 
forth! He has spoken to him; it is in (his) body through- 
out. Greater is that which he has done than that which 
was said to him/ Behold, a good son, whom the god gives, 
renders more than that which his lord says to him. He 
does right (righteousness, etc.), his heart acts according 
to his way. According as thou attainest me ('what I 
have attained'), thy limbs shall be healthy, the king shall 
be satisfied with all that occurs, and thou shalt attain 
years of life not less [•than 1 ] I have passed on earth. I 
have attained one hundred and ten years of life, while 
the king gave to me praise above (that of) the ancestors 
(in the vizierial office) because I did righteousness for 
the king even unto the place of reverence (the grave) " l 
(19, 3-8). 

In the Wisdom of Ptahhotep we have what purports 
to be the ripe worldly wisdom of a seasoned old states- 
man and courtier, with a long life of experience with men 
and affairs behind him. Nor do they in any way belie 
their assumed authorship. It is easy to picture a self- 
satisfied old prince looking back with vast complacency 
upon his long career, and drawing out of his wide experi- 
ence, with no attempt at arrangement, the precepts of 
conduct, official and personal, which he has found valu- 
able. As a matter of fact, however, it is evident that 

1 This is the end of the original, for the scribe's docket in red fol- 
lows, reading as usual: "It is finished from its beginning to its end 
according to what was found in writing" (19, 9). 


we have here a collection of precepts which had grown 
up among the officials of the Egyptian state when this 
compilation was made and put into the mouth of Ptah- 
hotep. Some of them are doubtless much older than the 
collection itself; but in the main they reflect to us the 
conventional daily philosophy of the wisest among the 
official body in the Feudal Age. 

Over half of these admonitions deal with personal 
character and conduct, while the remainder have to do 
with administration and official conduct. 1 In general 
they inculcate gentleness, moderation, and discretion 
without lack of self-assertion, displaying indeed the sound- 
est good sense in the poise and balance to which they 
commend the young man. There is none of the sombre 
pessimism of the Misanthrope or Khekheperre-sonbu. 
Life is abundantly worth while. A wholesome amount 
of pleasure is to be taken, and official or other burdens 
are not to be allowed to curtail the hours of relaxation 
(see paragraph 10). Moreover, a man should always 
wear a cheerful face, for "there is no use in crying over 
spilt milk." Finally the dominant note is a command- 
ing moral earnestness which pervades the whole homely 
philosophy of the old vizier's wisdom. The most promi- 
nent imperative throughout is "do right," and "deal justly 
with all." 

So prominent are justice, character, and moral ideals 
in the surviving documents of this great age, that I am 

1 We may divide the paragraphs as numbered above roughly as 
follows : 

Personal character and conduct, paragraphs 1-3, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 
17, 18, 19, 22, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41. Total, 23 paragraphs. 

Administration and official conduct: 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 21, 
23, 24, 25,- 26, 27, 28, 30, 39, 42, 43. Total, 19 paragraphs. 

Uncertain, paragraph 35. 


confident we should place here the Installation of the 
Vizier, a traditional address orally delivered to the vi- 
zier by the king in person whenever a new incumbent 
was inducted into the vizierial office. 1 This remarkable 
address shows that the spirit of the Wisdom of Ptahhotep 
and the Eloquent Peasant was not exclusively a matter 
of homely proverbial philosophy, current precepts of con- 
duct, or a picturesque story with a moral. This spirit 
of social justice pervaded even the very structure of the 
state and had reached the throne itself. The address is 
as follows: 

1 This document has survived in three different copies, each a 
hieroglyphic wall inscription, in three different tombs of the Eigh- 
teenth Dynasty at Thebes. The best preserved and most important 
of the three is in the tomb of Rekhmire, vizier under Thutmose III 
(1501-1447 B. C). The other two copies are in the tomb of Woser, 
uncle and predecessor of Rekhmire, and the tomb of Hapu, vizier 
under Thutmose IV (1420-1411 B. C.). These two are little more 
than fragments. The inscription was published, on the basis of the 
Rekhmire text, by Newberry, who first discovered it (The Life of 
Rekhmara, London, 1900, pis. ix-x). Newberry placed the materials 
from the tombs of Woser and Hapu at Gardiner's disposal, who then 
re-edited the text with excellent commentary and translation (the 
Installation of a Vizier, Recueil de travaux, XXVI, 1-19). The 
document is exceedingly difficult in language and still shows serious 
lacunae. Further study was given it by Sethe, who re-edited the 
text in his Urkunden (IX, 1086 jf.). He secured successive colla- 
tions of all the originals from Davies, and published a final and much 
improved text with full commentary and translation (Die Einsetzung 
des Veziers unter der 18. Dynastie, Leipzig, 1909, in Untersuchungen 
zur GescLichte und Altertumskunde Aegyptens, V, 2). The above 
translation is an adaptation of Sethe, and should be used in place 
of my former translation in my Ancient Records (II, 665-670). 
While all the texts date from the fifteenth century B. C, the reasons 
for placing the document in the Middle Kingdom, at least several 
centuries earlier, seem to me conclusive. The document refers to 
a precedent from the Pyramid Age (Old Kingdom), and it is in spirit 
and thought closely related to the social documents of the Feudal 
Age above discussed. Employing the canons of historical criticism 
current elsewhere, if this document had not borne a date, it would 


"Regulation laid upon the vizier X. 1 The council was 
conducted into the audience hall of Pharaoh, Life! Pros- 
perity! Health! One (= the king) caused that there be 
brought in the vizier X, newly appointed." 

"Said his majesty to him, 'Look to the office of the 
vizier; be watchful over all that is done therein. Behold 
it is the established support of the whole land/ 

"'Behold, as for the vizierate, it is not sweet; behold, 
it is bitter, as r he is named 1 . [Behold], he is copper en- 
closing the gold of his [lord's] house. Behold it (the vi- 
zierate) is not to show respect-of-persons to princes and 
councillors; it is not to make for himself slaves of any 

"'Behold, as for a man in the house of his lord, his 
•conduct 1 is good for him (the lord). (But) lo, he does 
not the same for another' (than the lord). 2 

have been placed in the Middle Kingdom by any unbiassed critic. 
It shows particularly close affinity to the Wisdom of Ptahhotep 
(Papyrus Prisse), duplicating not a few of its ideas, and even em- 
ploying also the same form in some cases. For example regarding 
proper and kind treatment of a petitioner the two texts say: 

"A petitioner desires that his utterance be regarded rather than 
the hearing of that on account of which he has come" (Installation, 
1. 17). 

"He who is suffering wrong desires that his heart be cheered to do 
that on account of which he has come" (Wisdom of Ptahhotep, 
Prisse 9, 5; see paragraph 16, above). 

There is not space here to array the parallel materials, but I hope 
to do this elsewhere in a special study. I may call attention to 
Prisse 11, 12-13, and 10, 6-7 as containing doctrines identical with 
those in the Installation. Perhaps the most conclusive evidence is 
the social policy of Ameni ("I did not exalt the great above the 
small"), almost an epitome of the Installation address, and of un- 
questionable Middle Kingdom date. 

1 Here of course was the name of the vizier, varying from incum- 
bent to incumbent. 

2 The meaning of course is that the vizier is to be loyal to his lord, 
the king, to whose house he is attached. 


"'Behold, when a petitioner comes from Upper or 
Lower Egypt (even) the whole land, equipped with . . . 
see thou to it that everything is done in accordance with 
law, that everything is done according to the custom 
thereof, [giving] to [^every man 1 ] his right. Behold a 
prince is in a conspicuous place, water and wind report 
concerning all that he does. For behold, that which is 
done by him never remains unknown.' 

When he takes up a matter [for a petitioner according 
to his case, he (the vizier) shall not proceed by the state- 
ment of a departmental officer. 1 But it (the matter under 
consideration) shall be known by the statement of one 
designated by him (the vizier), saying it himself in the 
presence of a departmental officer with the words : " It is 
not that I raise my voice; (but) I send the petitioner 
[according to] his [case to ^another court 1 ] or prince.'' 
Then that which has been done by him has not been 

"'Behold the refuge of a prince is to act according to 
the regulation by doing what is said' (to him). 2 A peti- 
tioner who has been adjudged [ r shall not say 1 ]: 'My 
right has not been given to* [me].' 

"Behold, it is a saying which was in the r vizierial in- 
stallation 1 of Memphis in the utterance of the king in 
urging the vizier to moderation . . . "[Bewar]e of that 
which is said of the vizier Kheti. It is said that he dis- 
criminated against some of the people of his own kin 
[in favor of] strangers, for fear lest it should be said of 
him that he [favored] his [kin dishon]estly. When one of 

1 That is, an officer belonging to the staff of the vizier who has heard 
the matters reported at second hand, lest misunderstanding should 
result, when the vizier handles or acts on cases from another court. 

2 Compare Prisse, 7, 9. 


them appealed against the judgment which he thought 
•to make 1 him, he persisted in his discrimination. " Now 
that is more than justice/ 

"' Forget not to judge justice. It is an abomination of 
the god to show partiality. This is the teaching. There- 
fore do thou accordingly. Look upon him who is known 
to thee like him who is unknown to thee; and him who 
is near the king like him who is far from [his house]. 
Behold, a prince who does this, he shall endure here in 
this place.' 

"Pass not over a petitioner without regarding his 
speech. If there is a petitioner who shall appeal to thee, 
being one whose speech is not what is said, 1 dismiss him 
after having let him hear that on account of which thou 
dismissest him. Behold, it is said: "A petitioner desires 
that his saying be regarded rather than the hearing of 
that on account of which he has come. " ' 

"'Be not wroth against a man wrongfully; (but) be 
thou wroth at that at which one should be wroth. ' 

" ' Cause thyself to be feared. Let men be afraid of thee. 
A prince is a prince of whom one is afraid. Behold, the 
dread of a prince is that he does justice. Behold, if a 
man causes himself to be feared a multitude of times, 
there is something wrong in him in the opinion of the 
people. They do not say of him, "He is a man (indeed). " 
Behold, the ffearl of a prince [^deters!] the liar, when he 
(the prince) proceeds according to the dread of him. Be- 
hold, this shalt thou attain by administering this office, 
doing justice/ 

"'Behold, men expect the doing of justice in the pro- 
cedure [of] the vizier. Behold, that is its (justice's) cus- 

1 Meaning either what is said and thus proven by witnesses, or 
what should not be said, impropriety of speech. 


tomary [law 1 ] since the god. Behold, it is said concern- 
ing the scribe of the vizier: "A just scribe," is said of 
him. Now, as for the hall in which thou "nearest" there 
is an audience-hall therein [^for 1 ] hhe announcement 1 of 
judgments. Now, as for "him who shall do justice be- 
fore all the people," it is the vizier.' 

" ' Behold, when a man is in his office, he acts according 
to what is commanded him. [Behold] the success of a 
man is that he act according to what is said to him. 
Make no [•delay 1 ] at all in justice, the law of which thou 
knowest. Behold, it becomes the arrogant that the king 
should love the timid more than the arrogant.' x 

"'Now mayest thou do according to this command 
that is given thee — behold it is the manner of ^success 1 — 
besides giving thy attention to the r crown 1 -lands, and 
making the establishment thereof. If thou happenest to 
inspect, then shalt thou send to inspect the overseer of 
^land-measuring 1 and the ^patrol of the overseer of land- 
measuring 1 . If there be one who shall inspect before 
thee, then thou shalt question him.' 

"'[Behold the regulation] that is laid up[on] thee.'" 

The chief emphasis throughout this remarkable state 
document is on social justice. The vizierate is not for 
the purpose of showing any preference "to princes and 
councillors" nor to enslave any of the people. All jus- 
tice administered shall be according to law in every case, 
not forgetting that the vizier's position is a very con- 
spicuous one, so that all his proceedings are widely known 
among the people. Even the waters and the winds re- 
port his doings to all. Nor does justice mean that any 

1 The same contrast between the "timid" and the "arrogant" or 
"violent-hearted" is found in Ipuwer (11, 13), and is another con- 
nection between the Installation and the Feudal Age documents. 


injustice shall be shown those who may be of high sta- 
tion, as in the famous case of the ancient Memphite vi- 
zier Kheti, who made a decision against his own kin in 
spite of the inherent merits of the case. This is not justice. 
On the other hand, justice means strict impartiality, treat- 
ing without distinction, known and unknown, him who is 
near the king's person and him who enjoys no connection 
with the royal house. Such administration as this will se- 
cure the vizier a long tenure of office. While the vizier 
must display the greatest discretion in his wrath, he must 
so demean himself as to ensure public respect and even 
fear, but this fear shall have its sole basis in the execu- 
tion of impartial justice; for the true "dread of a prince 
is that he does justice." Hence he will not find it neces- 
sary repeatedly and ostentatiously to excite the fear of 
the people, which produces a false impression among 
them. The administration of justice will prove a suffi- 
cient deterrent. Men expect justice from the vizier's of- 
fice, for justice has been its customary law since the 
reign of the Sun-god on earth, and he whom they prover- 
bially call "him who shall do justice before all the people" 
is the vizier. A man's success in office depends upon his 
ability to follow instructions. Therefore let there be no 
delay in the dispensation of justice, remembering that 
the king loves the timid and defenceless more than the 
arrogant. Then with a reference to the lands which prob- 
ably formed the royal fortune, and the inspection of the 
officials in charge of them, the king concludes this veri- 
table magna charta of the poor with the words: "Be- 
hold the regulation that is laid upon thee." 

It should be noted that this programme of social kind- 
ness and justice, in which the king loves the timid and 
defenceless more than the powerful and arrogant, is dis- 


tinctly religious in motive. "It is an abomination of the 
god," says the king, "to show partiality/' Moreover, 
justice has been the traditional law of the vizier's office 
since the time when the Sun-god ruled in Egypt. The 
rule of the Pharaoh which was supposed to continue the 
blood and the line of Re was likewise continuing the 
justice of the Sun-god's ancient regime on earth. The 
king lays his mandate unequivocally upon the vizier, but 
at the same time he does not hesitate to appeal to a 
higher court. The vizier must do justice because the 
great god of the state abhors injustice, and not solely be- 
cause the king enjoins it. Twelve to thirteen hundred 
years later we find the Hebrew prophets boldly proclaim- 
ing the moral sovereignty of Jehovah as over that of the 
king, but how many generations of seemingly fruitless 
ministry were required before this contention of the 
prophets found expression in the spirit of the Hebrew 
government, much less in royal pronouncements such as 
this of the Feudal Age in Egypt. Was it the vision of 
the ideal king held up at the court by Ipuwer, the sombre 
picture of the corruption of men painted by the Misan- 
thrope, the picturesque scene of official oppression dis- 
closed in the story of the Eloquent Peasant, or the con- 
ventional tableau of father counselling son presented in 
the Wisdom of Ptahhotep, which finally so enveloped the 
throne in an atmosphere of social justice that the instal- 
lation of the prime-minister and chief-justice of the realm, 
for such the vizier was, called forth from the king a speech 
from the throne, an official expression by the head of the 
state to its highest executive officer, embodying the fun- 
damental principles of social justice? We have not been 
accustomed to associate such principles of government with 
the early East, nor, indeed, even with the modern Orient. 


Indeed, when we examine the Laws of Hammurabi, which 
date from the same age, we find the administration of 
justice conditioned by clear recognition of social classes. 
For the same crime the penalty and the damages vary 
according to the social class of the individuals involved. 
In the Installation of the Egyptian vizier such distinc- 
tions are obliterated and all are to be treated alike. 
When Plato in his essay on Politics made the State the 
organized embodiment of justice, he probably little knew 
that fifteen hundred years earlier Egypt had adopted 
this ideal and endeavored to make it reality; or is this 
another evidence that Plato had been in Egypt, and an 
idea which he appropriated there? 

The influence of such lofty ideals of social justice, which 
thus found the highest expression in government, was 
no doubt in large measure due to the form in which they 
circulated among all classes. Such doctrines, had they 
been enunciated as abstract principles, would have at- 
tracted little attention and exerted little or no influence. 
The Egyptian, however, always thought in concrete terms 
and in graphic forms. He thought not of theft but of a 
thief, not of love but of a lover, not of poverty but of a 
poor man: he sees not social corruption but a corrupt 
society. Hence the Misanthrope, a man in whom social 
injustice found expression in the picture of a despairing 
soul who tells of his despair and its causes; hence Ipu- 
wer, a man in whom dwelt the vision to discern both the 
deadly corruption of society and the golden dream of an 
ideal king restoring all; hence the Eloquent Peasant, a 
man suffering official oppression and crying out against 
it; hence Ptahhotep, a man meeting the obligations of 
office with wholesome faith in righteous conduct and just 
administration to engender happiness, and passing on this 


experience to his son ; hence even the Instruction of Ame- 
nemhet, a king suffering shameful treachery, losing faith 
in men and likewise communicating his experience to his 
son. The result is that the doctrines of these social 
thinkers were placed in a dramatic setting, and the doc- 
trines themselves find expression in dialogue growing out 
of experiences and incidents represented as actual. In the 
East, and doubtless everywhere, such teachings, we repeat, 
make the most universal and the most powerful appeal 
in this form. It was the form into which the problem of 
suffering, as graphically exemplified in the story of Job, 
most naturally fell. The Story of Akhikar, recently re- 
covered in its ancient Aramaic form, is unquestionably a 
discourse on the folly of ingratitude which belongs in the 
same class; while the most beautiful of all such tales, 
the parables of Jesus, adopt the method and the form for 
ages current in the East. When Plato wished to dis- 
course on the immortality of the soul, he assumed as his 
dramatic setting the death of Socrates, and the doctrines 
which he wished to set forth took the form of conversa- 
tion between Socrates and his friends. 1 It is hardly con- 
ceivable that this method of moralizing and philosophiz- 
ing in dialogue after an introduction which throws the 
whole essentially into the form of a tale, a method which 
produced so many documents in Egypt, had no influence 
on the emergence of the dialogue form in Asia and Eu- 
rope. It is not likely that the form originated indepen- 
dently among the Aramaeans, Hebrews, and Greeks. The 
wide international circulation of the Akhikar tale, as we 
have said before, demonstrates how such literary prod- 
ucts could travel, and it is perhaps significant that the 

1 The analogy of the Platonic dialogues was noticed by Gardiner, 
Admonitions, p. 17. 


oldest form of the Akhikar tale was found in Egypt. In 
any case it is evident that the form of the teachings of 
these early social thinkers and reformers contributed much 
to give them a wide and powerful influence, an influence 
which finally reached the throne itself, as we have seen. 

While we are, unhappily, unable to trace further the 
influence of these men in the practical legislation of this 
age, for the laws of Egypt have perished, the pervading 
power of their teaching is evident in the mortuary in- 
scriptions of the period. We leave the court and journey 
to the provinces and baronies, where we find on the tomb 
door of such a baron as Ameni of Benihasan the follow- 
ing account of his administrative policy as lord of a 

"There was no citizen's daughter whom I misused, 
there was no widow whom I afflicted, there was no peas- 
ant whom I repulsed (evicted?), there was no herdman 
whom I repelled, there was no overseer of five whose 
people I took away for (unpaid) taxes. There was none 
wretched in my community, there was none hungry in 
my time. When years of famine came, I ploughed all the 
fields of the Oryx barony (his estate) as far as its southern 
and its northern boundary, preserving its people alive, 
furnishing its food so that there was none hungry therein. 
I gave to the widow as (to) her who had a husband. I 
did not exalt the great (man) above the small (man) in 
anything that I gave. Then came great Niles (inunda- 
tions), possessors of grain and all things, (but) I did not 
collect the arrears of the field. " 1 

In this record we seem to hear an echo of the Installa- 
tion of the Vizier, especially in the statement, " I did not 
exalt the great man above the small man in anything 

1 BAR, I, 523. 


that I gave." It is easy to believe that such a baron as 
this had been present at court and had heard the instruc- 
tions of the Pharaoh at the vizier's inauguration. If the 
administration of Ameni was in any measure what he 
claims for it, we must conclude that the social teachings 
of the wise at the court were widely known among the 
great throughout the kingdom. Even though we may 
conclude that he has idealized his rule to a large extent, 
we have still to account for his desire to create such an 
impression as we gain from his biography. It is evident 
that the ideals of social justice, so insistently set forth in 
the literature of the age, had not only reached the king, 
but they had also exerted a profound influence among 
the ruling class everywhere. 

Herein, then, we may discern a great transformationT 1 
The pessimism with which the men of the early Feudal ' 
Age, 1 as they beheld the desolated cemeteries of the ■ 
Pyramid Age, or as they contemplated the hereafter, 
and the hopelessness with which some of them regarded 
the earthly life were met by a persistent counter-current 
in the dominant gospel of righteousness and social jus- 
tice set forth in the hopeful philosophy of more optimis- 
tic social thinkers, men who saw hope in positive effort 
toward better conditions. We must regard the Admoni- 
tions of Ipuwer and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 
as striking examples of such efforts, and we must recog- 
nize in their writings the weapons of the earliest known 
group of moral and social crusaders. What more could 
such a man as Ipuwer have wished than the address de- 
livered by the king at the installation of the vizier? A 

1 Such views are dated with considerable precision early in the 
Twelfth Dynasty by the Instruction of Amenemhet, the first king 
of the dynasty. 


king capable of delivering such an address approaches the 
stature of that ideal king of whom Ipuwer dreamed. 

There can be no doubt that that ideal king was Re, 
the moral glories of whose reign were to be renewed in 
his Pharaonic representative on earth. It is to the ap- 
proval and to the traditional character of the reign of the 
Sun-god that the king appealed as the final basis for his 
instruction to the vizier. It is Re who is dominant in 
the thinking of these social philosophers of the Feudal 
Age. In the Song of the Harper even the mummy of the 
dead is set up before Re. It is to Re that the Misan- 
thrope looks for justification in the hereafter, and Khe- 
kheperre-sonbu was a priest of the Sun-city of Heliopolis. 
Ipuwer's vision of the future ideal king emerges from 
reminiscence of the blessedness of Re's earthly reign 
among men; while the summary of the whole appeal of 
the Eloquent Peasant is contained in "that good word 
which came out of the mouth of Re himself: ' Speak 
truth, do truth (or "righteousness"), for it is great, it is 
mighty, it is enduring.'" The moral obligations emerg- 
ing in the Solar theology thus wrought the earliest social 
regeneration and won the earliest battle for social jus- 
tice of which we know anything in history. It is evi- 
dent here also, as in the Pyramid Texts, that the connec- 
tion of Osiris with ideals of righteousness and justice is 
secondary. He was tried and found innocent in the great 
hall at Heliopolis, that is before the Solar bar of justice, 
recognized, at the time when the Osiris myth was forming, 
as the tribunal before which he must secure acquittal, 
and his later exaltation as judge is but the Solarization of 
the Osirian functions on the basis of the Solar judgeship 
so common in the Pyramid Texts. In the Pyramid Texts, 
Osiris had already climbed upon the celestial throne of 


Re; we shall see him now also appropriating Re's judg- 
ment-seat. 1 

We discern the Egyptians, then, developing at a sur- 
prisingly early date a sense of the moral unworthiness of 
man and a consciousness of deep-seated moral obliga- 
tion to which he has been largely untrue. Their begin- 
nings lie too far back to be discernible, but as they de- 
veloped they found practical expression in the idealized 
kingship whence they were quickly reflected into the 
character and the activities of Re, the ideal king. The 
moral obligation which men felt within them became a 
fiat of the god, their own abomination of injustice soon 
became that of the god, and their own moral ideals, thus 
becoming likewise those of the god, gained a new manda- 
tory power. The idealized kingship of Re, the possible 
recurrence of such a beneficent rule, brought with it 
golden visions of a Messianic kingdom. Furthermore, 
Re became the great moral arbiter before whom all might 
receive justice. Even Osiris had thus been subjected to 
the moral ordeal before the Sun-god in his great hall of 
justice at Heliopolis, as the Osirian myth narrates. It is 
not necessary to deny to early Osirian belief some ethical 
content, of which we found indications likewise in the 
local faiths of a number of Egyptian gods of the Pyra- 
mid Age; but here again it should not be forgotten that 
the Pyramid Texts have preserved traces of a view of 
Osiris which, far from making him the ideal king and 
the friend of man, discloses him as an enemy of the dead 
and hostile to men. 2 It is not until the Feudal Age that 

1 The Heliopolitan trial of Osiris is in itself enough to dispose of 
the extraordinary contention of Budge (in his two volumes on Osiris) 
that the Sun-god is a secondary phenomenon of foreign origin, im- 
ported into Egypt after the supremacy of the Osirian faith was 
established. 2 See above, pp. 75, 142-3. 


Osiris unmistakably emerges as the champion of righteous- 
ness. Ptahhotep, with the complaisant optimism which 

i characterizes his maxims, avers that righteousness has 
\ I not been '^disturbed since the time of Osiris/' meaning 

* v the time when Osiris ruled on earth as a righteous king. 1 
While the political triumph of Re largely created the re- 
ligious atmosphere which environed these social philoso- 
phers of the court, we shall now observe Osiris and Re, 
side by side, in the moral thinking of the age. 

It was now not only religious belief and social axiom, 
but also formally announced royal policy, that before the 
bar of justice the great and the powerful must expect the 
same treatment and the same verdict accorded to the 
poor and the friendless. It is not the province of these 
lectures to discover to what extent practical administra- 
tion made these ideals effective. That is a matter of 
history for the investigation of which the materials are 
unhappily very scanty. Later conditions would indicate 
that the ideal remained largely unrealized. It can hardly 
be doubted, however, that such doctrines of social justice 
as we have found in this age contributed powerfully to 
develop the conviction that not the man of power and 
wealth, but the man of justice and righteousness, would 
be acceptable before the great god's judgment-seat. Here 
then ends the special and peculiar claim of the great and 
powerful to consideration and to felicity in the hereafter, 
and the democratization of blessedness beyond the grave 
begins. The friendless peasant pleading with the grand 
steward says to him, "Beware! Eternity approaches." 
Ameni, the great lord of Benihasan, sets forth upon his 
tomb door, as we have seen, the record of social justice 
in his treatment of all as the best passport he can devise 
1 See above, p. 232, paragraph 4 (Pap. Prisse 6, 5). 


for the long journey. Over and over again the men of 
the Feudal Age reiterate in their tombs their claims to 
righteousness of character. "Sesenebnef has done right- 
eousness, his abomination was evil, he saw it not," l says 
an official of the time on his sarcophagus. The mortuary 
texts which fill the cedar coffins of this age 2 show clearly 
that the consciousness of moral responsibility in the here- 
after has greatly deepened since the Pyramid Age. The 
balances of justice to which the peasant appealed so often 
and so dramatically are now really finding place in the 
drama of justification hereafter. "The doors of the sky 
are opened to thy beauty," says one to the deceased; 
"thou ascendest, thou seest Hathor. Thy evil is expelled, 
thy iniquity is wiped away, by those who weigh with the 
balances on the day of reckoning." 3 Just as the peasant 
so often called the grand steward the balances of justice, 
so the deceased may be possessed of character as true and 
unswerving as the scales themselves. Hence we find the 

Coffin Texts saying, "Lo, this (name of the deceased) 

is the balances of Re, wherewith he weighs truth" (or 
righteousness). 4 It is evident also whose are the balances 
of truth and who the judge who presides over them. It is 
as before the Sun-god, before whom even Osiris had been 
tried. A similar connection of the judgment with Re 
places it in the cabin of the Solar barque. 5 

The moral requirement of the great judge has become 
a matter of course. The dead says: " I have led the way 
before him and behind him. He loves righteousness and 
hates evil, upon his favorite ways of righteousness whereon 

1 Gautier et Jequier, Licht, pi. xxv, horizontal line at top. Other 
references are BAR, I, 459, 509, 531, 532, 613, 745. 

2 These are forerunners of the Book of the Dead. An account of 
them will be found below, pp. 272-3 

3 Rec. 32, 78. 4 Rec. 30, 189. 5 Rec. 31, 23. 


the gods lead." l When the dead man entered those 
righteous paths of the gods, it was with a sense of moral 
unworthiness left behind. "My sin is expelled," he said, 
" my iniquity is removed. I have cleansed myself in those 
two great pools which are in Heracleopolis." 2 Those cere- 
monial washings which were so common in the Pyramid 
Texts have now become distinctly moral in their signifi- 
cance. " I go upon the way where I wash my head in the 
Lake of Righteousness," says the dead man. 3 Again and 
very often the deceased claims that his life has been blame- 
less : "lam one who loved righteousness, my abomination 
was evil." 4 "I sit down justified, I rise up justified." 5 
"I have established righteousness, I have expelled evil." 6 
"I am a lord of offering, my abomination is evil." 7 

A number of times the Osirian Horus appears as the 
moral champion of the dead, to whom he says : "lam thy 
son Horus, I have caused that thou be justified in the coun- 
cil." 8 This of course means the identification of the dead 
with Osiris, and the enjoyment of the same justification 
which had been granted Osiris. Hence Horus says to the 
dead: "0 Osiris X! I have given to thee justification 
against thy enemies on this good day." 9 This justifica- 
tion was of course not that granted by Osiris, but by the 
Sun-god, as shown by such utterances of Horus as this: 
"I put righteousness before him (the deceased) like 
Atum" (the Sun-god). 10 Now, the justification before the 
Sun-god was accomplished by Thoth, as advocate of the 

1 Rec. 31, 22; see similar important references to " righteousness " 
on p. 21, but they are obscure. 

2 Lepsius, Aelteste Texte, pi. i, 11. 9-10 (Book of the Dead, 17th 
chap.). 3 Ibid., pi. i, 1. 12 = pi. xvi, 11. 10-11 (Book of the 
Dead, 17th chap.). 4 Annates du Service, V, 237. 

6 Rec. 31, 28, 1. 62. 6 Rec. 31, 25. 7 Rec. 30, 69. 

8 Rec. 33, 34. 9 Rec. 33, 36. 10 Rec. 33, 36. 


accused, Thoth having been, according to the Solar myth, 
the vizier of the Sun-god. Hence we find in the Coffin 
Texts a "Chapter of Justification before Thoth, Heredi- 
tary Prince of the Gods," although the text of the chapter 
unfortunately consists of mortuary ceremonies on behalf 
of Osiris, and makes but one reference to justification in 
mentioning "the beautiful paths of justification." l In 
the justification of Osiris himself, Thoth had figured as his 
defender, and the justification in the foregoing chapter is 
probably Osirian, though it does not unequivocally make 
Osiris the judge. The ethical significance of Osiris is evi- 
dent in a passage where the deceased, identified with Osiris, 
says: "I perish not, I enter as truth, I •support 1 truth, I 
am lord of truth, I go forth as truth, ... I enter in as 
truth"; 2 or again where Osiris says: "I am Osiris, the 
god who does righteousness, I live in it." 3 

But Osiris early discloses himself as the judge. We 
hear in the Coffin Texts of "the Great Council (or court 
of justice) of Osiris" as early as the Ninth or Tenth 
Dynasty (twenty-fourth to twenty-second centuries) . 4 In 
the same text the dead (or possibly Horus) says: "I have 
commanded those who are in the Great Council in the 
cavern of Osiris; I have repeated it in the presence of 
Mat (Goddess of Truth), to cause that I prevail over that 
foe." 5 It is perhaps this council that is meant when the 
dead is assured, "Thou art justified on the day when 
judgment is rendered in the council of the Lord of Gem- 
wet," although I am not certain that Osiris was the Lord of 
Gemwet. 6 According to another notion there were seven 
of these "councils" or courts of Osiris, and we find a 

1 Lacau's, chap. XXIX, Rec. 30, 69 ff. 2 Rec. 31, 16. 

3 Annates, V, 248. 4 Assiut Coffin of Mesehet, Rec. 31, 173. 

* Ibid. 6 Rec. 29, 147. 


prayer that the soul of the deceased may be justified 
" against his enemies in the sky, in the earth, and in these 
seven councils of Osiris." l Doubtless the popularity of 
Osiris had much to do with the spread of the conviction, 
now universal, that every soul must meet this ethical or- 
deal in the hereafter. It now became, or let us say that 
at the advent of the Middle Kingdom it had become, the 
custom to append to the name of every deceased person 
the epithet u justified. ,, 

,:* In the Pyramid Texts this epithet had been received 
only by the Pharaoh, for royal Osirianism identified the 
king with the justified Osiris and prefixed "Osiris" to 
the king's name. A new element now entered the old 
'popular Osirianism, and the process which was democ- 
ratizing the splendid royal hereafter now began to iden- 
tify every dead man with Osiris, so that he not only as 
of old entered the kingdom of Osiris to enjoy the god's 
protection and favor, but he now became Osiris and was 
conceived as king. Even in burials of simple folk, the 
mummy was fashioned and laid on the back like that of 
Osiris, and amulets representing the royal insignia of the 
Pharaoh were painted on the inside of the coffin or laid be- 
side the body. 2 The popular power of the ancient god is 
evident in the new custom of prefixing the name of Osiris 
to that of the dead man. He might be and was fre- 
quently identified with the Sun-god too, but as a departed 
spirit it was by the name of Osiris that he was designated. 

1 Tomb of Harhotep, Mem. de la Miss. arch, frang., I, 177-180. 
This appeal for justification is probably a magical formula. It is re- 
peatedly addressed to the personified parts — rudder, mast, sail, etc. — 
of the sacred Osiris barque at Abydos, each being adjured to "jus- 
tify " the soul of the deceased. (Cf. forty-eight names of a barque 
in Lacau, XXVII, Rcc, 30, 65 ff. t and Book of the Dead, xcix.) It is 
possible that " justify " implies little of ethical content here, and that 
it may be chiefly legal. On the use of "justified" as a juristic 
verdict, see Sethe, Einsctzung des Vezirs, p. 23, n. 96. 

2 See Scfiaefer, Zeilschr. fuer aegypt. Sprache, 43, 66 ff. 



The scepticism toward preparations for the hereafter 
involving a massive tomb and elaborate mortuary furni- 
ture, the pessimistic recognition of the futility of material 
equipment for the dead, pronounced as we have seen these 
tendencies to be in the Feudal Age, were, nevertheless, but 
an eddy in the broad current of Egyptian life. These 
tendencies were undoubtedly the accompaniment of un- 
relieved pessimism and hopelessness, on the one hand, as 
well as of a growing belief in the necessity of moral worthi- 
ness in the hereafter, on the other; they were revolutionary 
views which did not carry with them any large body of the 
Egyptian people. As the felicity of the departed was 
democratized, the common people took up and continued 
the old mortuary usages, and the development and elabora- 
tion of such customs went on without heeding the eloquent 
silence and desolation that reigned on the pyramid 
plateau and in the cemeteries of the fathers. Even Ipu- 
wer had said to the king: "It is, moreover, good when the 
hands of men build pyramids, lakes are dug, and groves 
of sycomores of the gods are planted." x In the opinion 
of the prosperous official class the loss of the tomb was 
the direst possible consequence of unfaithfulness to the 
king, and a wise man said to his children: 

2 Ipuwer, 13, 12-13. 


"There is no tomb for one hostile to his majesty; 
But his body shall be thrown to the waters." l 

By the many, tomb-building was resumed and carried 
on as of old. To be sure, the kings no longer held such 
absolute control of the state that they could make it but 
a highly organized agency for the construction of the 
gigantic royal tomb; but the official class in charge of 
such work did not hesitate to compare it with Gizeh it- 
self. Meri, an architect of Sesostris I, displays noticeable 
satisfaction in recording that he was commissioned by the 
king "to execute for him an eternal seat, greater in name 
than Rosta (Gizeh) and more excellent in appointments 
than any place, the excellent district of the gods. Its 
columns pierced heaven; the lake which was dug reached 
the river, the gates, towering heavenward, were of lime- 
stone of Troja. Osiris, First of the Westerners, rejoiced 
over all the monuments of my lord (the king). I myself 
rejoiced and my heart was glad at that which I had ex- 
ecuted." f The "eternal seat" is the king's tomb, in- 
cluding, as the description shows, also the chapel or mortu- 
ary temple in front. 

While the tombs of the feudal nobles not grouped about 
the royal pyramid, as had been those of the administrative 
nobles of the Pyramid Age, were now scattered in the 
baronies throughout the land, they continued to enjoy to 
some extent the mortuary largesses of the royal treasury. 
The familiar formula, "an offering which the king gives," 

1 Stela of Sehetepibre at Abydos, BAR, I, 748. The Misanthrope 
refers to the similar fate of an abandoned body. See above, p. 190. 

2 Stela of Meri in the Louvre (C 3), BAR, I, 509. The excava- 
tions of the Metropolitan Museum of New York have indeed re- 
vealed the unusually sumptuous character of the surroundings of 
this pyramid of Sesostris I at Lisht. 


so common in the tombs about the pyramids, is still fre- 
quent in the tombs of the nobles. It is, however, no longer 
confined to such tombs. With the wide popularization 
of the highly developed mortuary faith of the upper 
classes it had become conventional custom for every 
man to pray for a share in royal mortuary bounty, and 
all classes of society, down to the humblest craftsman 
buried in the Abydos cemetery, pray for "an offering 
which the king gives," although it was out of the question 
that the masses of the population should enjoy any such 

It is not until this Feudal Age that we gain any full 
impression of the picturesque customs connected with the 
dead, the observance of which was now so deeply rooted 
in the life of the people. The tombs still surviving in the 
baronies of Upper Egypt have preserved some memorials 
of the daily and customary, as well as of the ceremonial 
and festival, usages with which the people thought to 
brighten and render more attractive the life of those who 
had passed on. We find the same precautions taken by 
the nobles which we observed in the Pyramid Age. 

The rich noble Hepzefi of Siut, who flourished in the 
twentieth century before Christ, had before death 
erected a statue of himself in both the leading temples of 
his city, that is, one in the temple of Upwawet, an ancient 
Wolf-god of the place, from which it later received its 
name, Lycopolis, at the hands of the Greeks, and the other 
in the temple of Anubis, a well-known Dog- or Jackal- 
god, once one of the mortuary rivals of Osiris. The temple 
of Upwawet was in the midst of the town, while that of 
Anubis was farther out on the outskirts of the necropolis, 
at the foot of the cliff, some distance up the face of which 
Hepzefi had excavated his imposing cliff tomb. In this 


tomb likewise he had placed a third statue of himself, 
under charge of his mortuary priest. He had but one 
priest for the care of his tomb and the ceremonies which 
he wished to have celebrated on his behalf; but he had 
secured assistance for this man by calling in the occasional 
services of the priesthoods of both temples, and certain 
of the necropolis officials, with all of whom he had made 
contracts, as well as with his mortuary priest, stipulating 
exactly what they were to do, and what they were to re- 
ceive from the noble's revenues in payment for their ser- 
vices or their oblations, regularly and periodically, after 
the noble's death. 

These contracts, ten in number, were placed by the 
noble in bold inscriptions on the inner wall of his tomb- 
chapel, and they furnish to-day a very suggestive picture 
of the calendar of feasts celebrated in this provincial city 
of which Hepzefi was lord — feasts in all of which living 
and dead alike participated. The bald data from these 
contracts will be found in a table below (pp. 268-9), and 
on the basis of these the following imaginative reconstruc- 
tion endeavors to correlate them with the life which they 
suggest. The most important celebrations were those 
which took place in connection with the new year, be- 
fore its advent, as well as at and after its arrival. They 
began five days before the end of the old year, on the 
first of the five intercalary days with which the year 
ended. On this day we might have seen the priests of 
Upwawet in procession winding through the streets and 
bazaars of Siut, and issuing at last back of the town as 
they conducted their god to the temple of Anubis at the 
foot of the cemetery cliff. Here a bull was slaughtered 
for the visiting deity. Each of the priests carried in his 
hand a large conical white loaf of bread, and as they 


entered the court of the Anubis temple, each deposited 
his loaf at the base of Hepzefi's statue. 1 

Five days later, as the day declined, the overseer of 
the necropolis, followed by the nine men of his staff, 
climbed down from the cliffs, past many an open tomb- 
door which it was the duty of these men to guard, and 
entered the shades of the town below, now quite dark 
as it lay in the shadow of the lofty cliffs that overhung 
it. It is New Year's Eve, and in the twilight here and 
there the lights of the festival illumination begin to ap- 
pear in doors and windows. As the men push on through 
the narrow streets in the outskirts of the town, they are 
suddenly confronted by the high enclosure wall of the 
temple of Anubis. Entering at the tall gate they in- 
quire for the "great priest," who presently delivers to 
them a bale of torches. With these they return, slowly 
rising above the town as they climb the cliff again. As 
they look out over the dark roofs shrouded in deep shad- 
ows, they discover two isolated clusters of lights, one just 
below them, the other far out in the town, like two twink- 
ling islands of radiance in a sea of blackness which stretches 
away at their feet. They are the courts of the two tem- 
ples, where the illumination is now in full progress. Hep- 
zefi, their ancient lord, sleeping high above them in his 
cliff tomb, is, nevertheless, present yonder in the midst of 
the joy and festivity which fill the temple courts. Through 
the eyes of his statue rising above the multitude which 
now throngs those courts, he rejoices in the beauty of the 
bright colonnades, he revels, like his friends below, in the 
sense of prodigal plenty spread out before him, as he be- 
holds the offering loaves arrayed at his feet, where we saw 
the priests depositing them; and his ears are filled with the 
1 Contract 1. 


roar of a thousand voices as the rejoicings of the assem- 
bled city, gathered in their temples to watch the old year 
die and to hail the new year, swell like the sound of the 
sea far over the dark roofs, till its dying tide reaches the 
ears of our group of cemetery guards high up in the 
darkness of the cliffs as they stand silently looking out 
over the town. 

Just above is the great facade of the tomb where their 
departed lord, Hepzefi, lies. The older men of the party 
remember him well, and recall the generosity which they 
often enjoyed at his hands; but their juniors, to whom he 
is but an empty name, respond but slowly and reluctantly 
to the admonitions of the gray-beards to hasten with the 
illumination of the tomb, as they hear the voice of Hep- 
zefi's priest calling upon them from above to delay no 
longer. The sparks flash from the "friction lighter" for 
an instant and then the first torch blazes up, from which 
the others are quickly kindled. The procession passes 
out around a vast promontory of the cliff and then 
turns in again to the tall tomb door, where Hepzefi's 
priest stands awaiting them, and without more delay they 
enter the great chapel. The flickering light of the torches 
falls fitfully upon the wall, where gigantic figures of the 
dead lord rise so high from the floor that his head is lost 
in the gloom far above the waning light of the torches. 
He seems to admonish them to punctilious fulfilment of 
their duties toward him, as prescribed in the ten con- 
tracts recorded on the same wall. He is clad in splendid 
raiment, and he leans at ease upon his staff. Many a 
time the older men of the group have seen him standing 
so, delivering judgment as the culprits were dragged 
through the door of his busy bureau between a double 
line of obsequious bailiffs; or again watching the prog- 


ress of an important irrigation canal which was to open 
some new field to cultivation. Involuntarily they drop 
in obeisance before his imposing figure, like the scribes 
and artisans, craftsmen and peasants who fill the walls 
before him, in gayly colored reliefs vividly portraying all 
the industries and pastimes of Hepzefi's great estates and 
forming a miniature world, where the departed noble, en- 
tering his chapel, beholds himself again moving among 
the scenes and pleasures of the provincial life in which 
he was so great a figure. To him the walls seem suddenly 
to have expanded to include harvest-field and busy ba- 
zaar, workshop and ship-yard, the hunting-marshes and 
the banquet-hall, with all of which the sculptor and the 
painter have peopled these walls till they are indeed 

The torches are now planted around the offerings, 
thickly covering a large stone offering-table, behind 
which sits Hepzefi's statue in a niche in the wall; and 
then the little group slowly withdraws, casting many a 
furtive glance at a false door in the rear wall of the chapel, 
through which they know Hepzefi may at any moment 
issue from the shadow world behind it, to re-enter this 
world and to celebrate with his surviving friends the 
festivities of New Year's Eve. 1 

The next day, the first day of the new year, is the great- 
est feast-day in the calendar. There is joyful exchange 
of gifts, and the people of the estate appear with presents 
for the lord of the manor. Hepzefi's descendants are 
much absorbed in their own pleasure, but his cautious 
contracts, as still recorded in the town archives, ensure 
him from neglect. While the peasants and the lease- 
holders of the barony are crowding the gates of the manor- 
1 Contracts 9, 5 and 7. 


house, bringing in their gifts to their living lord and 
thinking little, if at all, of his departed predecessor, we 
discover the little knot of ten necropolis guards, headed 
by their chief, again entering the outskirts of the town 
and proceeding to one of the treasuries of the estate 
where they are entitled to draw supplies. Presently they 
march away again, bearing five hundred and fifty flat 
cakes, fifty-five white loaves, and eleven jars of beer. 
Pushing their way slowly through the holiday crowds 
they retrace their steps to the entrance of the ceme- 
tery at the foot of the cliffs, where they find a large 
crowd already gathered, every one among them similarly 
laden. Amid much shouting and merry-making, amid 
innumerable picturesque scenes of Oriental folk-life, such 
as are still common in the Mohammedan cemeteries of 
Egypt at the Feast of Bairam, the good towns-people of 
Siut carry their gifts of food and drink up the cliff to 
the numerous doors which honeycomb its face, that their 
dead may share the joyous feast with them. It is, in- 
deed, the earliest Feast of All-Souls. The necropolis 
guards hasten up to Hepzefi's chapel with their supplies, 
which they quickly deliver to his priest, and are off again 
to preserve order among the merry crowds now every- 
where pushing up the cliff. 1 

As the day wears on there are busy preparations for 
the evening celebration, for the illumination, and the 
"glorification of the blessed/' who are the dead. The 
necropolis guards, weary with a long day of arduous duty 
in the crowded cemetery, descend for the second time 
into the town to the temple of Upwawet. Here they 
find the entire priesthood of the temple waiting to re- 
ceive them. At the head of the line the "great priest" 
1 Contract 9. 


delivers to the ten guards of the necropolis the torches 
for Hepzefi's "illumination." These are quickly kindled 
from those which the priests already carry, and the pro- 
cession of guards and priests together moves slowly out 
of the temple court and across the sacred enclosure "to 
the northern corner of the temple," as the contract with 
Hepzefi prescribes, chanting the "glorification" of Hep- 
zefi. 1 As they go the priests carry each a large conical 
loaf of white bread, such as they had laid before the 
statue of Hepzefi in the temple of Anubis five days be- 
fore. Arrived at the "northern corner of the temple," 
the priests turn back to their duties in the crowded sanc- 
tuary, doubtless handing over their loaves to the necrop- 
olis guards, for, as stipulated, these loaves were destined 
for the statue of Hepzefi in his tomb. Threading the 
brightly lighted streets of the town, the little procession 
of ten guards pushes its way with considerable difficulty 
through the throngs, passing at length the gate of the 
Anubis temple, where the illumination is in full progress, 
and the statue of Hepzefi is not forgotten. As they 
emerge from the town again, still much hampered by 
the crowds likewise making their way in the same direc- 
tion, the dark face of the cliff rising high above them is 
dotted here and there with tiny beacons moving slowly 
upward. These are the torches of the earlier towns- 

1 The nature of this ceremony, which was performed by the living, 
at the New Year's and other feasts, on behalf of their dead, while 
not clear in its details, must have been what its name technically 
defines it to have been. It means "the act of making glorious," 
and, as we have seen above, one of the epithets applied to the dead 
was "the glorious." It was therefore a ceremony for accomplish- 
ing the transformation of the deceased into a "glorious one," pre- 
cisely as he was transformed also into a "soul" (ba) by an analogous 
ceremony performed by the living, a ceremony indeed which may 
have been much the same as that of glorification. 


people, who have already reached the cemetery to plant 
them before the statues and burial-places of their dead. 
The guards climb to Hepzefi's tomb as they had done the 
night before and deliver torches and white bread to Hep- 
zefi's waiting priest. Thus the dead noble shares in the 
festivities of the New Year's celebration as his children 
and former subjects were doing. 1 

Seventeen days later, on the eve of the Wag-feast, the 
"great priest of Anubis" brought forth a bale of torches, 
and, heading his colleagues, they "illuminated" the statue 
of Hepzefi in the temple court, while each one of them 
at the same time laid a large white loaf at the feet of the 
statue. The procession then passed out of the temple 
enclosure and wound through the streets chanting the 
"glorification" of Hepzefi till they reached another statue 
of him which stood at the foot of the stairs leading up 
the cliff to his tomb. Here they found the chief of the 
desert patrol, or "overseer of the highland," where the 
necropolis was, just returning from the magazines in 
the town, having brought a jar of beer, a large loaf, 
five hundred flat cakes, and ten white loaves to be deliv- 
ered to Hepzefi's priest at the tomb above. 2 The next 
day, the eighteenth of the first month, the day of the 
Wag-feast, the priests of Upwawet in the town each pre- 
sented the usual large white loaf at Hepzefi's statue in 
their temple, followed by an "illumination" and "glori- 
fication" as they marched in procession around the tem- 
ple court. 3 

Besides these great feasts which were thus enjoyed by 
the dead lord, he was not forgotten on any of the periodic 
minor feasts which fell on the first of every month and 

1 Contracts 9, 2, 5 and 7. 2 Contracts 7, 8 and 10. 

3 Contract 4. 


half-month, or on any "day of a procession." On these 
days he received a certain proportion of the meat and 
beer offered in the temple of Upwawet. 1 His daily needs 
were met by the laymen serving in successive shifts in 
the temple of Anubis. As this sanctuary was near the 
cemetery, these men, after completing their duties in the 
temple, went out every day with a portion of bread and 
a jar of beer, which they deposited before the statue of 
Hepzefi " which is on the lower stairs of his tomb." 2 
There was, therefore, not a day in the year when Hepzefi 
failed to receive the food and drink necessary for his 
maintenance. 3 

Khnumhotep, the powerful baron of Benihasan, tells 
us more briefly of similar precautions which he took before 
his death. " I adorned the houses of the kas and the dwell- 
ing thereof; I followed my statues to the temple; I de- 
voted for them their offerings: the bread, beer, water, 
wine, incense, and joints of beef credited to the mortuary 
priest. I endowed him with fields and peasants; I com- 
manded the mortuary offering of bread, beer, oxen, and 
geese at every feast of the necropolis : at the Feast of the 
First of the Year, of New Year's Day, of the Great Year, 
of the Little Year, of the Last of the Year, the Great 
Feast, at the Great Rekeh, at the Little Rekeh, at the 
Feast of the Five (intercalary) Days on the Year, at 
r . . J the Twelve Monthly Feasts, at the Twelve Mid- 

1 Contract 6. 2 Contract 8. 

3 The preceding account has attempted to indicate to some extent 
the place of the dead in the celebration of the calendar of feasts as 
they were in the life of the people. Perhaps imagination has been 
too liberally drawn upon. The bare data as furnished by the 
contracts of Hepzefi will be found in the table on pages 268 and 
269; the contracts themselves may be found translated in my 
Ancient Records, I, 535-593. 




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monthly Feasts; every feast of the happy living and of 
the dead. 1 Now, as for the mortuary priest, or any per- 
son who shall disturb them, he shall not survive, his son 
shall not survive in his place." 2 The apprehension of 
the noble is evident, and such apprehensions are common 
in documents of this nature. We have seen Hepzefi 
equally apprehensive. 

That these gifts to the dead noble should continue in- 
definitely was, of course, quite impossible. We of to-day 
have little piety for the grave of a departed grandfather; 
few of us even know where our great-grandfathers are 
interred. The priests of Anubis and Upwawet and the 
necropolis guards at Siut will have continued their duties 
only so long as Hepzefi's mortuary priest received his in- 
come and was true to his obligations in reminding them of 
theirs, and in seeing to it that these obligations were met. 
We find such an endowment surviving a change of dynasty 
(from the Fourth to the Fifth), and lasting at least some 
thirty or forty years, in the middle of the twenty-eighth 
century before Chirst. 3 In the Twelfth Dynasty, too, 
there was in Upper Egypt great respect for the ancestors 
of the Old Kingdom. The nomarchs of El-Bersheh, in 
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries before Christ, re- 
paired the tombs of their ancestors of the Pyramid Age, 
tombs then over six hundred years old, and therefore in 
a state of ruin. The pious nomarch used to record his 
restoration in these words: "He (the nomarch) made (it) 
as his monument for his fathers, who are in the necropolis, 
the lords of this promontory; restoring what was found 

*Lit. "every feast of the happy one in the (valley-) plain, and of 
the one on the mountain;" those who are on the plain still live, but 
those on the mountain are the dead in the cliff tombs. 

2 BAR, I, 630. 3 BAR i 213> 


in ruin and renewing what was found decayed, the an- 
cestors who were before not having done it." We find 
the nobles of this province using this formula five times 
in the tombs of their ancestors. 1 In the same way, Intef, 
a baron of Hermonthis, says: "I found the chapel of the 
prince Nekhtyoker fallen to ruin, its walls were old, its 
statues were shattered, there was no one who cared for 
them. It was built up anew, its plan was extended, its 
statues were made anew, its doors were built of stone, that 
its place might excel beyond that of other august princes." 2 
Such piety toward the departed fathers, however, was 
very rare, and even when shown could not do more than 
postpone the evil day. The marvel is that with their an- 
cestors' ruined tombs before them they nevertheless still 
went on to build for themselves sepulchres which were in- 
evitably to meet the same fate. The tomb of Khnumho- 
tep, the greatest of those left us by the Benihasan lords 
of four thousand years ago, bears on its walls, among the 
beautiful paintings which adorn them, the scribblings of 
a hundred and twenty generations in Egyptian, Coptic, 
Greek, Arabic, French, Italian, and English. The earliest 
of these scrawls is that of an Egyptian scribe who entered 
the tomb-chapel over three thousand years ago and wrote 
with reed pen and ink upon the wall these words : " The 
scribe Amenmose came to see the temple of Khufu and 
found it like the heavens when the sun rises therein." 3 
The chapel was some seven hundred years old when this 
scribe entered it, and its owner, although one of the great- 
est lords of his time, was so completely forgotten that the 
visitor, finding the name of Khufu in a casual geographical 
reference among the inscriptions on the wall, mistook the 

1 BAR, I, 688-9. 2 Berlin, 13272; Erman, Rel, pp. 143/. 

3 Newberry, Benihasan, I, pi. xxviii, 3. 


place for a chapel of Khufu, the builder of the Great 
Pyramid. All knowledge of the noble and of the endow- 
ments which were to support him in the hereafter had 
disappeared in spite of the precautions which we have 
read above. How vain and futile now appear the im- 
precations on these time-stained walls! 

But the Egyptian was not wholly without remedy even 
in the face of this dire contingency. He endeavored to 
meet the difficulty by engraving on the front of his tomb, 
prayers believed to be efficacious in supplying all the 
needs of the dead in the hereafter. All passers-by were 
solemnly adjured to utter these prayers on behalf of the 

The belief in the effectiveness of the uttered word on 
behalf of the dead had developed enormously since the 
Old Kingdom. This is a development which accompanies 
the popularization of the mortuary customs of the upper 
classes. In the Pyramid Age, as we have seen, such utter- 
ances were confined to the later pyramids. These con- 
cern exclusively the destiny of the Pharaoh in the here- 
after. They were now largely appropriated by the middle 
and the official class. At the same time there emerge 
similar utterances, identical in function but evidently 
more suited to the needs of common mortals. These 
represent, then, a body of similar mortuary literature 
among the people of the Feudal Age, some fragments of 
which are much older than this age. Later the Book of 
the Dead was made up of selections from this humbler 
and more popular mortuary literature. Copious extracts 
from both the Pyramid Texts and these forerunners of 
the Book of the Dead, about half from each of the two 
sources, were now written on the inner surfaces of the 
heavy cedar coffins, in which the better burials of this age 


are found. The number of such mortuary texts is still 
constantly increasing as additional coffins from this age 
are found. Every local coffin-maker was furnished by 
the priests of his town with copies of these utterances. 
Before the coffins were put together, the scribes in the 
maker's employ filled the inner surfaces with pen-and-ink 
copies of such texts as he had available. It was all done 
with great carelessness and inaccuracy, the effort being 
to fill up the planks as fast as possible. They often 
wrote the same chapter over twice or three times in the 
same coffin, and in one instance a chapter is found no 
less than five times in the same coffin. 1 

1 Lacau, XXII, Rec. 29, 143 ff. These texts as a class are some- 
times designated as the Book of the Dead. As about half of them 
are taken from the Pyramid Texts, and the Pyramid Texts are 
sharply distinguished from the Book of the Dead (the former for 
the use of the king originally, the latter for universal use), it would 
seem not only incorrect, but also the obliteration of a useful distinc- 
tion to term these Middle Kingdom texts the Book of the Dead. 
Hence I have for convenience termed them Coffin Texts, a designa- 
tion drawn from the place in which they are found, and thus parallel 
with the Pyramid Texts. These Coffin Texts have never been col- 
lected and published as a whole. A very valuable collection taken 
from the coffins in the Cairo Museum has been made and published 
by Lacau, Textes religieux, Recueil de travaux, vols. 26-27, 28-33. 
Lacau' s collection is not yet all in print, but it includes eight-six 
chapters. The character of the Coffin Texts as containing the earliest 
surviving fragments of the Book of the Dead was first recognized by 
Lepsius, who published the material in the Berlin collection (Lepsius, 
Aelteste Texte des Todtenbuchs, Berlin, 1867), and other texts were 
later published by Birch (Egyptian Texts . . . from the Coffin of 
Amamu, London, 1886). Wilkinson's tracing of an Eleventh 
Dynasty Coffin Text, now lost, was published by Budge, Fox- 
similes of Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, London, 
1910, pi. xxxix-xlviii, pp. xxi-xxii. A similar body of texts from the 
sepulchre of the Middle Kingdom tomb of Harhotep was published 
by Maspero, Memoires de la Mission arch, au Caire, vol. I, 136-184. 
A useful statement of the available materials will be found by 
Lacau in his Sarcophages anterieures au Nouvel Empire, I {Catalogue 


In so far as these Coffin Texts are identical with the 
Pyramid Texts we are already familiar with their general 
function and content. 1 The hereafter to which these 
citizens of the Feudal Age looked forward was, therefore, 
still largely celestial and Solar as in the Pyramid Age. 
But even these early chapters of the Book of the Dead 
disclose a surprising predominance of the celestial here- 
after. There is the same identification with the Sun-god 
which we found in the Pyramid Texts. There is a chap- 
ter of "Becoming Re-Atum," 2 and several of "Becoming 
a Falcon." 3 The deceased, now no longer the king, as in 
the Pyramid Texts, says: "I am the soul of the god, self- 
generator. ... I have become he. I am he before whom 
the sky is silent, I am he before whom the earth is r . . . ] 
... I have become the limbs of the god, self-generator. 
He has made me into his heart (understanding), he has 
fashioned me into his soul. I am one who has breathed 1 
the form of him who fashioned me, the august god, self- 
generator, whose name the gods know not. ... He has 
made me into his heart, he has fashioned me into his soul, 
I was not born with a birth." 4 This identification of 
the deceased with the Sun-god alternates with old pictures 
of the Solar destiny, involving only association with the 
Sun-god. There is a chapter of "Ascending to the Sky 
to the Place where Re is," 5 another of "Embarking in 

general . . . du Musee du Caire, Cairo, 1904, pp. vi/. An ex- 
haustive comparison and study of this entire body of mortuary texts 
is very much needed, and the work of Lacau is a valuable contribu- 
tion to this end. 

1 See above, pp. 84-141. 2 Lacau, LII, Rec. 31, 10. 

3 A Solar symbol. Lacau, XVI, Rec. 27, 54 /. ; Lacau, XXXVIII, 
Rec. 30, 189/.; Lacau, XVII, Rec. 27, 55/. The last is largely 
Osirian, but Re-Atum is prominent. 

4 Annates du Service, V, 235. 
* Lacau, VI, Rec. 26, 225. 


the Ship of Re when he has Gone to his Ka; l and a " Chap- 
ter of Entering Into the West among the Followers of Re 
Every Day." 2 When once there the dead man finds 
among his resources a chapter of "Being the Scribe of 
Re." 3 He also has a chapter of " Becoming One Revered 
by the King," 4 presumably meaning the Sun-god, as the 
chapter is a magical formulary for accomplishing the 
ascent to the sky. In the same way he may become an 
associate of the Sun-god by using a chapter of "Becoming 
One of r the Great 1 of Heliopolis." 5 

The famous seventeenth chapter of the Book of the 
Dead was already a favorite chapter in this age, and 
begins the texts on a number of coffins. It is largely an 
identification of the deceased with the Sun-god, although 
other gods also appear. The dead man says: 

"I am Atum, I who was alone; 
I am Re at his first appearance. 
I am the Great God, self-generator, 
Who fashioned his names, lord of gods, 
Whom none approaches among the gods. 
I was yesterday, I know to-morrow. 
The battle-field of the gods was made when I spake. 
I know the name of that Great God who is therein. 
'Praise-of-Re' is his name. 
I am that great Phoenix which is in Heliopolis." 

Just as in the Pyramid Texts, however, so in these early 
Texts of the Book of the Dead, the Osirian theology has 

» Lacau, XXXII, Rec. 30, 185/. 

2 Lacau, XLI, Rec. 30, 191/. 

3 Lacau, LIII, Rec. 31, 10/. But the text is Osirian; see below, 
p. 277. 

4 Lacau, XV, Rec. 27, 53/. 

5 Lacau, XL, Rec. 30, 191. Cf. Book of the Dead, chaps. LXXIX 
and LXXXII. 


intruded and has indeed taken possession of them. Al- 
ready in the Feudal Age this ancient Solar text had been 
supplied with an explanatory commentary, which adds to 
the line, "I was yesterday, I know to-morrow, " the words, 
" that is Osiris." The result of this Osirianization was the 
intrusion of the Osirian subterranean hereafter, even in 
Solar and celestial texts. Thus this seventeenth chapter 
was supplied with a title reading, " Chapter of Ascending 
by Day from the Nether World." l This title is not 
original, and is part of the Osirian editing, which involun- 
tarily places the sojourn of the dead in the Nether World 
though it cannot eliminate all the old Solar texts. The 
titles now commonly appended to these texts frequently 
conclude with the words, "in the Nether World." We 
find a chapter for "The Advancement of a Man in the 
Nether World," 2 although it is devoted throughout to 
Solar and celestial conceptions. In the Pyramid Texts, 
as we have seen, the intrusion of Osiris did not result in 
altering the essentially celestial character of the hereafter 
to which they are devoted. In the Coffin Texts we have 
not only the commingling of Solar and Osirian beliefs 
which now more completely coalesce than before, but the 

1 The word which I have rendered "Ascending" is commonly ren- 
dered "going forth." A study of the use of the word (pr't) in mor- 
tuary texts shows clearly that it means to ascend. The following 
are some decisive examples of its use in the Pyramid Texts: of the 
rising of the sun (§§ 743 b, 800 a, 812 c, 919 a, 923 c, 971 e); of the 
rising of a star (§§ 871 b, 877 c) (compare the "Rising of Sothis"); 
of the ascent of a bird to the sky (§ 913 a); with the words "to the 
sky" added, not infrequently (e. g., § 922 a); on a ladder (§§ 974-5); 
in opposed parallelism with "descend" (§§821 b-c, 867 a, 922 a, 
927 b). There is indeed in the Coffin Texts a "Chapter of Ascend- 
ing (pr't) to the Sky to the Place where Re is" (Rec. 26, 225). 
These examples might be increased ad infinitum, and there can be 
no question regarding the rendering "Ascending." 

2 Lacau, XIII, flee. 26, 232 #. 


result is that Re is intruded into the subterranean here- 
after. The course of events may be stated in somewhat 
exaggerated form if we say that in the Pyramid Texts 
Osiris was lifted skyward, while in the Coffin Texts and 
the Book of the Dead, Re is dragged earthward. 

The resulting confusion is even worse than in the 
Pyramid Texts. We shall shortly find Re appearing 
with subterranean functions on behalf of the dead, func- 
tions entirely unknown in the Pyramid Texts. The old 
Solar idea that the dead might become the scribe of Re, 
we have already found in the Coffin Texts; but while the 
title is given as " Being the Scribe of Re/' the text begins, 
"I am Kerkeru, scribe of Osiris." l We can hardly con- 
ceive a mass of mortuary doctrine containing a " Chapter of 
Reaching Orion," 2 a fragment of ancient celestial belief, 
side by side with such chapters as "Burial in the West," 3 
"That the Beautiful West Rejoice at the Approach of a 
Man," 4 "Chapter of Becoming the Nile," 5 which is, of 
course, a purely Osirian title although the text of the 
chapter is Solar; or a chapter of "Becoming the Harvest- 
god (Neper)," in which the deceased is identified with 
Osiris and with barley, as well as with Neper, god of 
harvest and grain. 6 

The Coffin Texts already display the tendency, carried 
so much further by the Book of the Dead, of enabling the 
deceased to transform himself at will into various beings. 
It was this notion which led Herodotus to conclude that 
the Egyptians believed in what we now call transmigration 
of souls, but this is a mistaken impression on his part. 
Besides identification with Re, Osiris, and other gods, 

1 Lacau, LIII, Rec. 31, 10/. 2 Lacau, XI, Rec. 26, 229. 

8 Lacau, LXII, Rec. 31, 19. 4 Lacau, XLIII, Rec. 30, 192/. 

* Lacau, XIX, Rec. 27, 217 ff. 6 Lacau, LVIII, Rec. 31, 15/. 


which, of course, involved belief in a transformation, 
the Coffin Texts also enable the deceased to "become 
the blazing Eye of Horus." l By the aid of another 
chapter he can accomplish the "transformation into an 
ekhet-bird" 2 or "into the servant at the table of 
Hathor." 3 

It is difficult to gain any coherent conception of the 
hereafter which the men of this age thus hoped to attain. 
There are the composite Solar-Osirian pictures which we 
have already found in the Pyramid Texts, and in which 
the priests to whom we owe these Coffin Text compila- 
tions allow their fancy to roam at will. The deceased 
citizen, now sharing the destiny of Osiris and called such 
by Horus, hears himself receiving words of homage and 
promises of felicity addressed to him by his divine son: 

"I come, I am Horus who opens thy mouth, together 
with Ptah who glorifies thee, together with Thoth who 
gives to thee thy heart (understanding); . . . that thou 
mayest remember what thou hadst forgotten. I cause 
that thou eat bread at the desire of thy body. I cause 
that thou remember what thou hast forgotten. I cause 
that thou eat bread . . . more than thou didst on earth. 
I give to thee thy two feet that thou mayest make the 
going and coming of thy two soles (or sandals). I cause 
that thou shouldst carry out commissions with the south 
wind and shouldst run with the north wind. ... I cause 
that thou shouldst ferry over fPeterui 1 and ferry over 
the lake of thy wandering and the sea of (thy) sandal 
as thou didst on earth. Thou rulest the streams and 
the Phoenix. . . . Thou leviest on the royal domains. 
Thou repulsest the violent who comes in the night, the 

1 Lacau, LXXX, Rec. 31, 166. 2 Lacau, XXX, Rec. 30, 71. 
3 Lacau, XXXI, Rec. 30, 72 /. 


robber of early morning. 1 . . . Thou goest around the 
countries with Re; he lets thee see the pleasant places, 
thou findest the valleys filled with water for washing 
thee and for cooling thee, thou pluckest marsh-flowers 
and heni-blossoms, lilies and lotus-flowers. The bird- 
pools come to thee by thousands, lying in thy path; when 
thou hast hurled thy boomerang against them, it is a 
thousand that fall at the sound of the wind thereof. 
They are ro-geese, green-fronts, quails, and kunuset. 2 I 
cause that there be brought to thee the young gazelles, 
•bullocks 1 of white bulls; I cause that there be brought 
to thee males of goats and grain-fed males of sheep. 
There is fastened for thee a ladder to the sky. Nut 
gives to thee her two arms. Thou sailest in the Lily- 
lake. Thou bearest the wind in an eight-ship. These 
two fathers (Re and Atum) of the Imperishable Stars 
and of the Unweariable Stars sail thee. They command 
thee, they tow thee through the district with their im- 
perishable ropes." 3 

In another Solar-Osirian chapter, after the deceased is 
crowned, purified, and glorified, he enters upon the Solar 
voyage as in the Pyramid Texts. It is then said of him: 
"Brought to thee are blocks of silver and ^masses 1 of 
malachite. Hathor, mistress of Byblos, she makes the 
rudders of thy ship. ... It is said to thee, 'Come into 
the broad-hall/ by the Great who are in the temple. Bared 
to thee are the Four Pillars of the Sky, thou seest the 
secrets that are therein, thou stretchest out thy two legs 
upon the Pillars of the Sky and the wind is sweet to thy 
nose." 4 

1 Thus far the picture is Osirian; it now becomes Solar. 

2 Varieties of wild fowl. 3 Lacau, XXII, Rec. 29, U3ff. 
4 Lacau, XX, Rec. 27, 221-6. 


While the destiny, everywhere so evidently royal in the 
Pyramid Texts, has thus become the portion of any one, 
the simpler life of the humbler citizen which he longed 
to see continued in the hereafter is quite discernible, also 
in these Coffin Texts. As he lay in his coffin he could 
read a chapter which concerned "Building a house for a 
man in the Nether World, digging a pool and planting 
fruit-trees." l Once supplied with a house, surrounded 
by a garden with its pool and its shade-trees, the dead 
man must be assured that he shall be able to occupy it, 
and hence a " chapter of a man's being in his house." 2 
The lonely sojourn there without the companionship of 
family and friends was an intolerable thought, and hence 
a further chapter entitled "Sealing of a Decree concern- 
ing the Household, to give the Household [to a man] in 
the Nether World." In the text the details of the decree 
are five times specified in different forms. " Geb, heredi- 
tary prince of the gods, has decreed that there be given 
to me my household, my children, my brothers, my father, 
my mother, my slaves, and all my establishment." Lest 
they should be withheld by any malign influence the sec- 
ond paragraph asserts that "Geb, hereditary prince of 
the gods, has said to release for me my household, 'my 1 
children, my brothers and sisters, my father, my mother, 
all my slaves, all my establishment at once, rescued from 
every god, from every goddess, from every death (or dead 
person)." 3 To assure the fulfilment of this decree there 
was another chapter entitled "Uniting of the Household 
of a Man with Him in the Nether World," which effected 
the "union of the household, father, mother, children, 
friends, 'connections 1 , wives, concubines, slaves, servants, 

1 Lacau, LXVII, Rec. 31, 24/. 2 Lacau, XXXIV, Rec. 30, 186/. 
3 Lacau, LXXII, Rec. 31, 26-29. 


everything belonging to a man, with him in the Nether 
World." l 

The rehabilitation of a man's home and household in 
the hereafter was a thought involving, more inevitably 
even than formerly, the old-time belief in the necessity 
of food. It reminds us of the Pyramid Texts when we 
find a chapter of " Causing that X Raise Himself Upon 
his Right Side." 2 The mummy lies upon the left side, and 
he rises to the other side in order that he may partake 
of food. Hence, another "Chapter of Eating Bread in 
the Nether World," 3 or "Eating of Bread on the Table 
of Re, Giving of Plenty in Heliopolis." 4 The very next 
chapter shows us how "the sitter sits to eat bread when 
Re sits to eat bread. . . . Give to me bread when I am 
hungry. Give to me beer when I am thirsty." 5 

A tendency which later came fully to its own in the 
Book of the Dead is already the dominant tendency in 
these Coffin Texts. It regards the hereafter as a place 
of innumerable dangers and ordeals, most of them of a 
physical nature, although they sometimes concern also 
the intellectual equipment of the deceased. The weapon 
to be employed and the surest means of defence available 
to the deceased was some magical agency, usually a charm 
to be pronounced at the critical moment. This tendency 
then inclined to make the Coffin Texts, and ultimately the 
Book of the Dead which grew out of them, more and 
more a collection of charms, which were regarded as in- 
evitably effective in protecting the dead or securing for 
him any of the blessings which were desired in the life 
beyond the grave. There was, therefore, a chapter of 

1 Lacau, II, Rec. 26, 67-73. 2 Lacau, XXXIX, Rec. 30, 190/. 

3 Lacau, XLV, Rec. 30, 193/. 

4 Lacau, III, Rec. 26, 73 ff. 8 Lacau, IV, Rec. 26, 76 #. 


"Becoming a Magician," addressed to the august ones 
who are in the presence of Atum the Sun-god. It is, of 
course, itself a charm and concludes with the words, "I 
am a magician." l Lest the dead man should lose his 
magic power, there was a ceremony involving the "at- 
tachment of a charm so that the magical power of man 
may not be taken away from him in the Nether World." 2 
The simplest of the dangers against which these charms 
were supplied doubtless arose in the childish imagination 
of the common folk. They are frequently grotesque in 
the extreme. We find a chapter "preventing that the 
head of a man be taken from him." 3 There is the old 
charm found also in the Pyramid Texts to prevent a man 
from being obliged to eat his own foulness. 4 He is not 
safe from the decay of death; hence there are two chap- 
ters that "a man may not decay in the Nether World." 5 
But the imagination of the priests, who could only gain 
by the issuance of ever new chapters, undoubtedly contrib- 
uted much to heighten the popular dread of the dangers 
of the hereafter and spread the belief in the usefulness 
of such means for meeting them. We should doubt- 
less recognize the work of the priests in the figure of a 
mysterious scribe named Gebga, who is hostile to the 
dead, so that a charm was specially devised to enable 
the dead man to break the pens, smash the writing outfit, 
and tear up the rolls of the malicious Gebga. 6 That men- 

1 Lacau, LXXVIII, Rec. 31, 164 ff. * Lacau, VII, Rec. 26, 226. 

3 Lacau, VIII, Rec. 26, 226-7; also Annates, V, 241. 

4 Lacau, XXII, Rec. 29, 150; XXIV, Rec. 29, 156/. Similar pas- 
sages will be found in the Book of the Dead, LI, LIII, LXXXII, 
CII, CXVI, CXXIV, CLXXXIX. Cf. Pyr. §§127-8, and BD, 
CLXXVIII. References from Lacau. 

6 Lacau, XXV, XXVI, Rec. 29, 157-9. 

6 Lacau, IX, X, Rec. 26, 227 ff. He occurs also in the tomb of Har- 
hotep, Mem. de la Miss, franc, au Caire, I, 166. 


acing danger which was also feared in the Pyramid Texts, 
the assaults of venomous serpents, must likewise be met 
by the people of the Feudal Age. The dead man, there- 
fore, finds in his roll charms for " Repulsing Apophis from 
the Barque of Re" and for "Repulsing the Serpent which 
•Afflicts 1 the Kas," 1 not to mention also one for "Re- 
pulsing Serpents and Repulsing Crocodiles." 2 The way 
of the departed was furthermore beset with fire, and he 
would be lost without a charm for " Going Forth from the 
Fire," 3 or of " Going Forth from the Fire Behind the 
Great God." 4 When he was actually obliged to enter 
the fire he might do so with safety by means of a " Chap- 
ter of Entering Into the Fire and of Coming Forth from 
the Fire Behind the Sky." 5 Indeed, the priests had de- 
vised a chart of the journey awaiting the dead, guiding 
him through the gate of fire at the entrance and showing 
the two ways by which he might proceed, one by land 
and the other by water, with a lake of fire between them. 
This Book of the Two Ways, with its map of the 
journey, was likewise recorded in the coffin. 6 In spite of 
such guidance it might unluckily happen that the dead 
wander into the place of execution of the gods; but from 
this he was saved by a chapter of " Not Entering Into the 
Place of Execution of the Gods; 7 and lest he should sud- 
denly find himself condemned to walk head downward, he 

1 Lacau, XXXV, XXXVI, Rec. 30, 187-8. 

2 Lacau, LXXIII, Rec. 31, 29. 

3 Lacau, XXXVII, Rec. 30, 188/. 

4 Lacau, XLIX, Rec. 30, 198. « Lacau, XLVIII, Rec. 30, 197. 

6 Berlin Coffin, Das Buck von den zwei Wegen des seligen Toten, by 
H. Schack-Schackenburg, Leipzig, 1903; also three coffins in 
Cairo, see Lacau, Sarcophages anterieures au Nouvel Empire, vol. I, 
Nos. 28083 and 28085, pis. lv., Ivi, lvii; vol. II, No. 28089. Cf. also 
Grapow, Zeitschr. fiir aegypt. Sprache, 46, 77 ff. 

7 Lacau, LXIII, Rec. 31, 20. 


was supplied with a " Chapter of Not Walking Head Down- 
ward." 1 These unhappy dead who were compelled to 
go head downward were the most malicious enemies in 
the hereafter. Protection against them was vitally neces- 
sary. It is said to the deceased : " Life comes to thee, but 
death comes not to thee. . . . They (Orion, Sothis, and 
the Morning Star) save thee from the wrath of the dead 
who go head downward. Thou art not among them. 
. . . Rise up for life, thou diest not; lift thee up for life, 
thou diest not." 2 The malice of the dead was a danger 
constantly threatening the newly arrived soul, who says: 
"He causes that I gain the power over my enemies. I 
have expelled them from their tombs. I have overthrown 
them in their (tomb-) chapels. I have expelled those who 
were in their places. I have opened their mummies, de- 
stroyed their kas. I have suppressed their souls. . . . 
An edict of the Self-Generator has been issued against my 
enemies among the dead, among the living, dwelling in 
sky and earth." 3 The belief in the efficacy of magic as 
an infallible agent in the hand of the dead man was thus 
steadily growing, and we shall see it ultimately dominat- 
ing the whole body of mortuary belief as it emerges a few 
centuries later in the Book of the Dead. It cannot be 
doubted that the popularity of the Osirian faith had much 
to do with this increase in the use of mortuary magical 
agencies. The Osiris myth, now universally current, made 
all classes familiar with the same agencies employed by 
Isis in the raising of Osiris from the dead, while the same 
myth in its various versions told the people how similar 
magical power had been employed by Anubis, Thoth, 
and Horus on behalf of the dead and persecuted Osiris. 

1 Lacau, XLIV, Rec. 30, 193. 2 Lacau, LXXXV, Rec. 32, 78. 

» Lacau, LXXXIV, Rec. 31, 175. 


Powerful as the Osiris faith had been in the Pyramid 
Age, its wide popularity now surpassed anything before 
known. We see in it the triumph of folk-religion as op- 
posed to or contrasted with a state cult like that of Re. 
The supremacy of Re was a political triumph; that of 
Osiris, while unquestionably fostered by an able priest- 
hood probably practising constant propaganda, was a 
triumph of popular faith among all classes of society, a 
triumph which not even the court and the nobles were 
able to resist. The blessings which the Osirian destiny 
in the hereafter offered to all proved an attraction of uni- 
versal power. If they had once been an exclusively 
royal prerogative, as was the Solar destiny in the Pyramid 
Texts, we have seen that even the royal Solar hereafter 
had now been appropriated by all. One of the ancient 
tombs of the Thinite kings at Abydos, a tomb now thir- 
teen or fourteen hundred years old, had by this time 
come to be regarded as the tomb of Osiris. It rapidly 
became the Holy Sepulchre of Egypt, to which all classes 
pilgrimaged. The greatest of all blessings was to be 
buried in the vicinity of this sacred tomb, and more than 
one functionary took advantage of some official journey 
or errand to erect a tomb there. 1 If a real tomb was 
impossible, it was nevertheless beneficial to build at least 
a false tomb there bearing one's name and the names of 
one's family and relatives. Failing this, great numbers 
of pilgrims and visiting officials each erected a memorial 
tablet or stela bearing prayers to the great god on behalf 
of the visitor and his family. Thus an official of Amenem- 
het II, who was sent by the king on a journey of inspec- 
tion among the temples of the South, says on his stela 
found at Abydos: "I fixed my name at the place where 
1 BAR, I, 528 and 746. 


is the god Osiris, First of the Westerners, Lord of Eternity, 
Ruler of the West, (the place) to which all that is flees, 
for the sake of the benefit therein, in the midst of the fol- 
lowers of the Lord of Life, that I might eat his loaf and 
' ascend by day' ; that my soul might enjoy the ceremonies 
of people kind in heart toward my tomb and in hand 
toward my stela." * Another under Sesostris I says: "I 
have made this tomb at the stairway of the Great God, in 
order that I may be among his followers, while the sol- 
diers who follow his majesty give to my ka of his bread 
and his 'provision 1 , just as every royal messenger does 
who comes inspecting the boundaries of his majesty." 2 
The enclosure and the approach to the temple of Osiris 
were filled with these memorials, which as they survive 
to-day form an important part of our documentary 
material for the history of this age. The body of a power- 
ful baron might even be brought to Abydos to undergo 
certain ceremonies there, and to bring back certain things 
to his tomb at home, as the Arab brings back water from 
the well of Zemzem, or as Roman ladies brought back 
sacred water from the sanctuary of Isis at Philse. Khnum- 
hotep of Benihasan has depicted on the walls of his tomb- 
chapel this voyage on the Nile, showing his embalmed 
body resting on a funeral barge which is being towed 
northward, accompanied by priests and lectors. The in- 
scription calls it the "voyage up-stream to know the 
things of Abydos." A pendent scene showing a voyage 
down-stream is accompanied by the words, "the return 
bringing the things of Abydos." 3 Just what these sacred 

1 BAR, I, 613. 2 BAR, I, 528. 

3 Lepsius, Denkmaeler, II, 126-7; Newberry, Benihasan, I, pi. 
xxix, also p. 68, where both scenes are stated to depict the voyage to 
Abydos. It is clear, both from the inscriptions ("voyage up-stream " 
and "return") and from the scenes themselves, that the voyage to 


"things of Abydos" may have been we have no means of 
knowing, 1 but it is evident that on this visit to the great 
god at Abydos, it was expected that the dead might per- 
sonally present himself and thus ensure himself the favor 
of the god in the hereafter. 

The visitors who thus came to Abydos, before or after 
death, brought so many votive offerings that the modern 
excavators of the Osiris tomb found it deeply buried under 
a vast accumulation of broken pots and other gifts left 
there by the pilgrims of thousands of years. There must 
eventually have been multitudes of such pilgrims at this 
Holy Sepulchre of Egypt at all times, but especially at 
that season when in the earliest known drama the incidents 
of the god's myth were dramatically re-enacted in what 
may properly be called a "passion play." Although this 
play is now completely lost, the memorial stone of Ikher- 
nofret, an officer of Sesostris III, who was sent by the king 
to undertake some restorations in the Osiris temple at 
Abydos, a stone now preserved in Berlin, furnishes an out- 
line from which we may draw at least the titles of the most 
important acts. These show us that the drama must 
have continued for a number of days, and that each of 
the more important acts probably lasted at least a day, 
the multitude participating in much that was done. In 
the brief narrative of Ikhernofret we discern eight acts. 

Abydos and return are depicted. The vessel going up-stream shows 
canvas set as it should for sailing up-stream, while the other (the 
"return") shows the mast unstepped, as customary in coming down- 
stream at the present day. Moreover, both boats actually face to and 
from Abydos as they now stand on the tomb wall. This device is not 
unknown elsewhere, e. g., the ships of Hatshepsut, on the walls of the 
Der el-Bahri temple, face to and from Punt (BAR, II, 251 and p. 105). 
1 The word employed (hr't) is one of the widest latitude in mean- 
ing. Its original meaning is "that which belongs to" (a thing or 
person), then his "being, state, concerns, needs," and the like. 


The first discloses the old mortuary god Upwawet issuing 
in procession that he may scatter the enemies of Osiris 
and open the way for him. In the second act Osiris him- 
self appears in his sacred barque, into which ascend cer- 
tain of the pilgrims. Among these is Ikhernofret, as he 
proudly tells in his inscription. There he aids in repelling 
the foes of Osiris who beset the course of the barque, and 
there is undoubtedly a general melee of the multitude, 
such as Herodotus saw at Papremis fifteen hundred years 
later, some in the barque defending the god, and others, 
proud to carry away a broken head on behalf of the cele- 
bration, acting as his enemies in the crowd below. Ikher- 
nofret, like Herodotus, passes over the death of the god 
in silence. It was a thing too sacred to be described. 
He only tells that he arranged the "Great Procession" of 
the god, a triumphal celebration of some sort, when the 
god met his death. This was the third act. In the fourth 
Thoth goes forth and doubtless finds the body, though 
this is not stated. The fifth act is made up of the sacred 
ceremonies by which the body of the god is prepared for 
entombment, while in the sixth we behold the multitude 
moving out in a vast throng to the Holy Sepulchre in the 
desert behind Abydos to lay away the body of the dead 
god in his tomb. The seventh act must have been an 
imposing spectacle. On the shore or water of Nedyt, 
near Abydos, the enemies of Osiris, including of course 
Set and his companions, are overthrown in a great battle 
by Horus, the son of Osiris. The raising of the god from 
the dead is not mentioned by Ikhernofret, but in the 
eighth and final act we behold Osiris, restored to life, 
entering the Abydos temple in triumphal procession. It 
is thus evident that the drama presented the chief inci- 
dents in the myth. 


As narrated by Ikhernofret, the acts in which he par- 
ticipated were these: 

(1) "I celebrated the 'Procession of Upwawet' when 
he proceeded to champion his father (Osiris)." 

(2) " I repulsed those who were hostile to the Neshmet 
barque, and I overthrew the enemies of Osiris. " 

(3) "I celebrated the 'Great Procession,' following the 
god in his footsteps." 

(4) " I sailed the divine barque, while Thoth . . . the 

(5) "I equipped the barque (called) 'Shining in Truth/ 
of the Lord of Abydos, with a chapel; I put on his beau- 
tiful regalia when he went forth to the district of Peker." 

(6) "I led the way of the god to his tomb in Peker." 

(7) "I championed Wennofer (Osiris) on 'That Day 
of the Great Battle'; I overthrew all the enemies upon 
the shore of Nedyt." 

(8) "I caused him to proceed into the barque (called) 
'The Great'; it bore his beauty; I gladdened the heart 
of the eastern highlands; I [put] jubilation in the western 
highlands, when they saw the beauty of the Neshmet 
barque. It landed at Abydos and they brought [Osiris, 
First of the Westerners, Lord] of Abydos to his palace." l 

It is evident that such popular festivals as these gained 
a great place in the affections of the people, and over and 
over again, on their Abydos tablets, the pilgrims pray 
that after death they may be privileged to participate in 
these celebrations, just as Hepzefi arranged to do so in 
those at Siut. Thus presented in dramatic form the in- 

1 Stela of Ikhernofret, Berlin 1204, 11. 17-23. It was published 
by Lepsius, Denkmaeler, II, 135 b, and much more carefully by 
Schaefer, Die Mysterien des Osiris in Abydos (Sethe, Unter- 
suchungen, IV, 2), Leipzig, 1904, with full discussion. Translation 
will also be found in BAR, I, 661-670 (some alterations above). 


cidents of the Osiris myth made a powerful impression 
upon the people. The "passion play" in one form or 
another caught the imagination of more than one com- 
munity, and just as Herodotus found it at Papremis, so 
now it spread from town to town, to take the chief place 
in the calendar of festivals. Osiris thus gained a place 
in the life and the hopes of the common people held by 
no other god. The royal destiny of Osiris and his tri- 
umph over death, thus vividly portrayed in dramatic 
form, rapidly disseminated among the people the belief 
that this destiny, once probably reserved for the king, 
might be shared by all. As we have said before, it needed 
but the same magical agencies employed by Isis to raise 
her dead consort, or by Horus, Anubis, and Thoth, as they 
wrought on behalf of the slain Osiris, to bring to every 
man the blessed destiny of the departed god. Such a 
development of popular mortuary belief, as we have al- 
ready seen, inevitably involved also a constantly growing 
confidence in the efficiency of magic in the hereafter. 

It is difficult for the modern mind to understand how 
completely the belief in magic penetrated the whole sub- 
stance of life, dominating popular custom and constantly 
appearing in the simplest acts of the daily household 
routine, as much a matter of course as sleep or the prepara- 
tion of food. It constituted the very atmosphere in which 
the men of the early Oriental world lived. Without the 
saving and salutary influence of such magical agencies 
constantly invoked, the life of an ancient household in 
the East was unthinkable. The destructive powers 
would otherwise have annihilated all. While it was es- 
pecially against disease that such means must be employed, 
the ordinary processes of domestic and economic life were 
constantly placed under its protection. The mother 


never hushed her ailing babe and laid it to rest without 
invoking unseen powers to free the child from the dark 
forms of evil, malice, and disease that lurked in every 
shadowy corner, or, slinking in through the open door as 
the gloom of night settled over the house, entered the tiny 
form and racked it with fever. Such demons might even 
assume friendly guise and approach under pretext of 
soothing and healing the little sufferer. We can still hear 
the mother's voice as she leans over her babe and casts 
furtive glances through the open door into the darkness 
where the powers of evil dwell. 

"Run out, thou who comest in darkness, who enterest 
in 'stealth 1 , his nose behind him, his face turned back- 
ward, who loses that for which he came." 

"Run out, thou who comest in darkness, who enterest 
in '"stealth 1 , her nose behind her, her face turned back- 
ward, who loses that for which she came." 

"Comest thou to kiss this child? I will not let thee 
kiss him." 

"Comest thou to soothe (him)? I will not let thee 
sqothe him. 

" Comest thou to harm him? I will not let thee harm 

"Comest thou to take him away? I will not let thee 
take him away from me. 

" I have made his protection against >thee out of Efet- 
herb, it makes pain; out of onions, which harm thee; out 
of honey which is sweet to (living) men and bitter to those 
who are yonder (the dead) ; out of the evil (parts) of the 
Ebdu-fish; out of the jaw of the meret; out of the back- 
bone of the perch." l 

Berlin Papyrus, P 3027 (I, 9 to II, 6). It belongs to the 
early Empire, or just before the Empire, about the sixteenth or 


The apprehensive mother employs not only the uttered 
charm as an exorcism, but adds a delectable mixture of 
herbs, honey, and fish to be swallowed by the child, and 
designed to drive out the malignant demons, male and 
female, which afflict the baby with disease or threaten to 
carry it away. A hint as to the character of these demons 
is contained in the description of honey as " sweet to men 
(meaning the living) and bitter to those who are yonder 
(the dead)." It is evident that the demons dreaded were 
some of them the disembodied dead. At this point the 
life of the living throughout its course impinged upon 
that of the dead. The malicious dead must be bridled 
and held in check. Charms and magical devices which 
had proved efficacious against them during earthly life 
might prove equally valuable in the hereafter. This 
charm which prevented the carrying away of the child 
might also be employed to prevent a man's heart from 
being taken away in the Nether World. The dead man 
need only say: "Hast thou come to take away this my 
living heart? This my living heart is not given to thee;" 
whereupon the demon that would seize and flee with it 
must inevitably slink away. 1 

Thus the magic of daily life was more and more brought 
to bear on the hereafter and placed at the service of the 
dead. As the Empire rose in the sixteenth century B. C, 
we find this folk-charm among the mortuary texts in- 
serted in the tomb. It is embodied in a charm now en- 
titled "Chapter of Not Permitting a Man's Heart to be 
Taken Away from Him in the Nether World," 2 a chapter 

seventeenth century B. C. Published by Erman, Zaubersprueche 
fur Mutter und Kind (Abhandl. der Kgl. Preuss. Akad. der Wiss. zu 
Berlin, 1901). 

1 Erman, ibid., 14-15. 

2 British Museum Papyrus of Ani, pi. xv, chap. XXIX. 


which we found already in the Coffin Texts of the Middle 
Kingdom. These charms have now increased in number, 
and each has its title indicating just what it is intended to 
accomplish for the deceased. Combined with some of the 
old hymns of praise to Re and Osiris, some of which might 
be recited at the funeral, 1 and usually including also some 
account of the judgment, these mortuary texts were now 
written on a roll of papyrus and deposited with the dead 
in the tomb. It is these papyri which have now com- 
monly come to be called the Book of the Dead. As a 
matter of fact, there was in the Empire no such book. 2 
Each roll contained a random collection of such mortuary 
texts as the scribal copyist happened to have at hand, or 
those which he found enabled him best to sell his rolls; 
that is, such as enjoyed the greatest popularity. There 
were sumptuous and splendid rolls, sixty to eighty feet long 
and containing from seventy-five to as many as a hundred 
and twenty-five or thirty chapters. On the other hand, the 
scribes also copied small and modest rolls but a few feet 
in length, bearing but a meagre selection of the more im- 
portant chapters. No two rolls exhibit the same collection 
of charms and chapters throughout, and it was not until 
the Ptolemaic period, some time after the fourth century 
B. C, that a more nearly canonical selection of chapters 

1 See Papyrus of Ani., pi. v, 11. 2-3, where the title of the section in- 
cludes the words, "things said on the day of burial." 

2 The designation was first employed by Lepsius, who, however, 
realized that these rolls were not fixed and constant in content. See 
his Todtenbuch (p. 4), which was the earliest publication of so large 
a roll. The Theban Book of the Dead has been published by 
Naville, Das aegyptische Todtenbuch, Berlin, 1886. Many individ- 
ual rolls are now accessible in published form, notably that of Ani (see 
below, p. 304). No translation fully representing modern knowl- 
edge of the language exists. The best are those of Budge and of 
Le Page-Renouf, continued by Naville. 


was gradually introduced. It will be seen, then, as we have 
said, that, properly speaking, there was in the Empire no 
Book of the Dead, but only various groups of mortuary 
chapters filling the mortuary papyri of the time. The 
entire body of chapters from which these rolls were made 
up, were some two hundred in number, although even the 
largest rolls did not contain them all. The independence 
or identity of each chapter is now evident in the custom 
of prefixing to every chapter a title — a custom which had 
begun in the case of many chapters in the Coffin Texts. 
Groups of chapters forming the most common nucleus of 
the Book of the Dead were frequently called "Chapters 
of Ascending by Day," a designation also in use in the 
Coffin Texts (see p. 276) ; but there was no current title 
for a roll of the Book of the Dead as a whole. 

While a few scanty fragments of the Pyramid Texts 
have survived in the Book of the Dead, it may neverthe- 
less be said that they have almost disappeared. 1 The 
Coffin Texts reappear, however, in increasing numbers 
and contribute largely to the various collections which 
make up the Book of the Dead. An innovation of which 
only indications are found in the Coffin Texts is the in- 
sertion in the Empire rolls of gorgeous vignettes illus- 
trating the career of the deceased in the next world. 
Great confidence was placed in their efficacy, especially, 
as we shall see, in the scene of the judgment, which was 
now elaborately illustrated. It may be said that these 
illustrations in the Book of the Dead are another example 
of the elaboration of magical devices designed to ameliorate 
the life beyond the grave. Indeed, the Book of the Dead it- 
self, as a whole, is but a far-reaching and complex illustra- 
tion of the increasing dependence on magic in the hereafter. 

1 Later, especially in the Saitic Age, they were revived. 


The benefits to be obtained in this way were unlimited, 
and it is evident that the ingenuity of a mercenary priest- 
hood now played a large part in the development which 
followed. To the luxurious nobles of the Empire, the 
old peasant vision of the hereafter where the dead man 
might plough and sow and reap in the happy fields, and 
where the grain grew to be seven cubits (about twelve 
feet) high, 1 did not appear an attractive prospect. To be 
levied for labor and to be obliged to go forth and toil, even 
in the fields of the blessed, no longer appealed to the pam- 
pered grandees of an age of wealth and luxury. Already 
in the Middle Kingdom wooden figures of the servants 
of the dead were placed in the tomb, that they might 
labor for him in death as they had done in life. This 
idea was now carried somewhat further. Statuettes of 
the dead man bearing sack and hoe were fashioned, and a 
cunning charm was devised and written upon the breast 
of the figure: "O statuette, 2 counted for X (name of de- 
ceased), if I am called, if I am counted to do any work 
that is done in the Nether World, . . . thou shalt count 
thyself for me at all times, to cultivate the fields, to 
water the shores, to transport sand of the east to the 
west, and say, 'Here am I.'" This charm was placed 
among those in the roll, with the title, " Chapter of Caus- 
ing that the Statuette Do the Work of a Man in the 
Nether World." 3 The device was further elaborated by 
finally placing one such little figure of the dead in the 
tomb for each day in the year, and they have been found 
in the Egyptian cemeteries in such numbers that museums 

1 Book of the Dead, chap. CIX. 

2 The word used is that commonly rendered "Ushebti," and trans- 
lated "respondent." It is, however, of very obscure origin and of 
uncertain meaning. 

3 Book of the Dead, chap. VI. 


and private collections all over the world, as has been 
well said, are "populated" with them. 

With such means of gain so easily available, we cannot 
wonder that the priests and scribes of this age took ad- 
vantage of the opportunity. The dangers of the here- 
after were now greatly multiplied, and for every critical 
situation the priest was able to furnish the dead with an 
effective charm which would infallibly save him. Be- 
sides many charms which enabled the dead to reach the 
world of the hereafter, there were those which prevented 
him from losing his mouth, his head, his heart, others 
which enabled him to remember his name, to breathe, 
eat, drink, avoid eating his own foulness, to prevent his 
drinking-water from turning into flame, to turn darkness 
into light, to ward off all serpents and other hostile mon- 
sters, and many others. The desirable transformations, 
too, had now increased, and a short chapter might in each 
case enable the dead man to assume the form of a falcon 
of gold, a divine falcon, a lily, a Phoenix, a heron, a swal- 
low, a serpent called "son of earth," a crocodile, a god, 
and, best of all, there was a chapter so potent that by 
its use a man might assume any form that he desired. 

It is such productions as these which form by far the 
larger proportion of the mass of texts which we term the 
Book of the Dead. To call it the Bible of the Egyptians, 
then, is quite to mistake the function and content of 
these rolls. 1 The tendency which brought forth this mass 
of "chapters" is also characteristically evident in two 
other books each of which was in itself a coherent and 

1 The designation "Bible of the old Egyptians" is at least as old 
as the report of the Committee of the Oriental Congress, which sat 
in London in 1874 and arranged for publishing the Book of the 
Dead. See Naville, Todtenbuch, Einleitung, p. 5. 


connected composition. The Book of the Two Ways, 
as old, we remember, as the Middle Kingdom, 1 had already 
contributed much to the Book of the Dead regarding the 
fiery gates through which the dead gained entrance to 
the world beyond and to the two ways by which he was 
to make his journey. 2 On the basis of such fancies as 
these, the imagination of the priests now put forth a 
"Book of Him Who is in the Nether World," describing 
the subterranean journey of the sun during the night as 
he passed through twelve long cavernous galleries be- 
neath the earth, each one representing a journey of an 
hour, the twelve caverns leading the sun at last to the 
point in the east where he rises. 3 The other book, com- 
monly called the "Book of the Gates," represents each 
of the twelve caverns as entered by a gate and concerns 
itself with the passage of these gates. While these com- 
positions never gained the popularity enjoyed by the 
Book of the Dead, they are magical guide-books devised 
for gain, just as was much of the material which made 
up the Book of the Dead. 

That which saves the Book of the Dead itself from 
being exclusively a magical vade mecum for use in the 
hereafter is its elaboration of the ancient idea of the 
moral judgment, and its evident appreciation of the bur- 
den of conscience. The relation with God had become 
something more than merely the faithful observance of 
external rites. It had become to some extent a matter 
of the heart and of character. Already in the Middle 
Kingdom the wise man had discerned the responsibility 
of the inner man, of the heart or understanding. The 

1 See above, p. 283. 

2 See Grapow, Zeitschr.fur aegypt. Sprache, 46, 77 if. 

8 See Jequier, Le livre de ce qu'il y a dans V Hades. Paris, 1894. 


man of ripe and morally sane understanding is his ideal, 
and his counsel is to be followed. "A hearkener (to 
good counsel) is one whom the god loves. Who hearkens 
not is one whom the god hates. It is the heart (under- 
standing) which makes its possessor a hearkener or one 
not hearkening. The life, prosperity, and health of a man 
is in his heart." l A court herald of Thutmose III in 
recounting his services likewise says: "It was my heart 
which caused that I should do them (his services for the 
king), by its guidance of my affairs. It was ... as an 
excellent witness. I did not disregard its speech, I feared 
to transgress its guidance. I prospered thereby greatly, 
I was successful by reason of that which it caused me to 
do, I was distinguished by its guidance. 'Lo, . . . / 
said the people, 'it is an oracle of God in every body. 2 
Prosperous is he whom it has guided to the good way of 
achievement/ Lo, thus I was." 3 The relatives of Paheri, 
a prince of El Kab, addressing him after his death, pray, 
"Mayest thou spend eternity in gladness of heart, in the 
favor of the god that is in thee," 4 and another dead man 
similarly declares, "The heart of a man is his own god, 
and my heart was satisfied with my deeds." 5 To this 
inner voice of the heart, which with surprising insight 
was even termed a man's god, the Egyptian was now 
more sensitive than ever before during the long course of 
the ethical evolution which we have been following. This 

1 See above, p. 236. 

2 Or "belly," meaning the seat of the mind. 

3 Louvre stela, C. 26, 11. 22-24. Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 
39, 47. 

4 Egypt Expl. Fund, Eleventh Mem., pi. ix, 11. 20-21. Zeitschr. 
fur aegypt. Sprache, 39, 48 . 

5 Wreczinski, Wiener Inschriften, 160, quoted by Erman, Rel., 
p. 123. 


sensitiveness finds very full expression in the most im- 
portant if not the longest section of the Book of the Dead. 
Whereas the judgment hereafter is mentioned as far back 
as the Pyramid Age, we now find a full account and de- 
scription of it in the Book of the Dead. 1 Notwithstand- 
ing the prominence of the intruding Osiris in the judgment 
we shall clearly discern its Solar origin and character 
even as recounted in the Book of the Dead. Three dif- 
ferent versions of the judgment, doubtless originally inde- 
pendent, have been combined in the fullest and best rolls. 
The first is entitled, " Chapter of Entering Into the Hall 
of Truth (or Righteousness)," 2 and it contains "that 
which is said on reaching the Hall of Truth, when X (the 
deceased's name) is purged from all evil that he has done, 
and he beholds the face of the god. 'Hail to thee, great 
god, lord of Truth. 3 I have come to thee, my lord, and 
I am led (thither) in order to see thy beauty. I know 
thy name, I know the names of the forty-two gods who 
are with thee in the Hall of Truth, who live on evil-doers 
and devour their blood, on that day of reckoning char- 
acter before Wennofer (Osiris). 4 Behold, I come to thee, 
I bring to thee righteousness and I expel for thee sin. 
I have committed no sin against people. ... I have not 
done evil in the place of truth. I knew no wrong. I did 
no evil thing. ... I did not do that which the god abom- 

1 It is commonly known as chap. CXXV. 

2 The word "truth" here is commonly written in the dual, which 
grammatically equals "the two truths." This strange usage is 
perhaps merely an idiom of intensification, as "morning" is written 
in the dual for "early morning." 

3 In the dual as above, and for the most part throughout this 

4 An important variant has, "Who live on righteousness (truth) 
and abominate sin." Some texts also insert here the name of 
Osiris, "Lo, the 'two beloved daughters, his two eyes of Truth' is 
thy name." 


inates. I did not report evil of a servant to his master. 
I allowed no one to hunger. I caused no one to weep. 
I did not murder. I did not command to murder. I 
caused no man misery. I did not diminish food in the 
temples. I did not decrease the offerings of the gods. 
I did not take away the food-offerings of the dead (liter- 
ally "glorious")- I did not commit adultery. I did not 
commit self-pollution in the pure precinct of my city- 
god. I did not diminish the grain measure. I did not 
diminish the span. 1 I did not diminish the land measure. 
I did not load the weight of the balances. I did not de- 
flect the index of the scales. I did not take milk from 
the mouth of the child. I did not drive away the cattle 
from their pasturage. I did not snare the fowl of the 
gods. I did not catch the fish in their pools. I did not 
hold back the water in its time. I did not dam the run- 
ning water. 2 I did not quench the fire in its time. 3 I 
did not withhold the herds of the temple endowments. I 
did not interfere with the god in his payments. I am 
purified four times, I am pure as that great Phoenix is 
pure which is in Heracleopolis. For I am that nose of 
the Lord of Breath who keeps alive all the people.' " 4 
The address of the deceased now merges into obscure 
mythological allusions, and he concludes with the state- 
ment, "There arises no evil thing against me in this land, 
in the Hall of Truth, because I know the names of these 
gods who are therein, the followers of the Great God." 
A second scene of judgment is now enacted. The 

1 A measure of length. 

2 This refers to diverting the waters of the irrigation canals at 
time of inundation at the expense of neighbors, still one of the com- 
monest forms of corruption in Egypt. 

3 The text is clear, but the meaning is quite obscure. 

4 Book of the Dead, chap. CXXV; Naville, Todtenbuch, I, 
CXXXIII, and II, 275-287. 


judge Osiris is assisted by forty-two gods who sit with 
him in judgment on the dead. They are terrifying 
demons, each bearing a grotesque and horrible name, 
which the deceased claims that he knows. He therefore 
addresses them one after the other by name. They are 
such names as these : " Broad - Stride - that - Came - out - 
of-Heliopolis," " Flame-Hugger-that-Came-out-of-Troja," 
" Nosey-that-Came-out-of-Hermopolis, ' ' " Shadow-Eater- 
that-Came-out-of-the-Cave," " Turn-Face-that-Came-out 
of-Rosta," " Two-Eyes-of-Flame-that-Came-out-of-Letop- 
olis,' , " Bone - Breaker - that-Came-out-of-Heracleopolis," 
" White - Teeth - that - Came - out - of -the -Secret -Land," 
" Blood - Eater-that-Came-out-of-the-Place-of-Execution," 
" Eater-of-Entrails-that-Came-out-of-Mebit." These and 
other equally edifying creations of priestly imagination the 
deceased calls upon, addressing to each in turn a declara- 
tion of innocence of some particular sin. 

This section of the Book of the Dead is commonly called 
the " Confession. " It would be difficult to devise a term 
more opposed to the real character of the dead man's 
statement, which as a declaration of innocence is, of course, 
the reverse of a confession. The ineptitude of the desig- 
nation has become so evident that some editors have 
added the word negative, and thus call it the "negative 
confession," which means nothing at all. The Egyptian 
does not confess at this judgment, and this is a fact of the 
utmost importance in his religious development, as we 
shall see. To mistake this section of the Book of the 
Dead for "confession" is totally to misunderstand the 
development which was now slowly carrying him toward 
that complete acknowledgment and humble disclosure of 
his sin which is nowhere found in the Book of the Dead. 

It is evident that the forty-two gods are an artificial 


creation. As was long ago noticed, they represent the 
forty or more nomes, or administrative districts, of Egypt. 
The priests doubtless built up this court of forty-two 
judges in order to control the character of the dead from 
all quarters of the country. The deceased would find 
himself confronted by one judge at least who was ac- 
quainted with his local reputation, and who could not be 
deceived. The forty-two declarations addressed to this 
court cover much the same ground as those we have al- 
ready rendered in the first address. The editors had some 
difficulty in finding enough sins to make up a list of forty- 
two, and there are several verbal repetitions, not to men- 
tion essential repetitions with slight changes in the word- 
ing. The crimes which may be called those of violence 
are these: "I did not slay men (5), I did not rob (2), I did 
not steal (4), I did not rob one crying for his possessions 
(18), 1 my fortune was not great but by my (own) property 
(41), I did not take away food (10), I did not stir up fear 
(21), I did not stir up strife (25)." Deceitfulness and 
other undesirable qualities of character are also disavowed : 
"I did not speak lies (9), I did not make falsehood in the 
place of truth (40), I was not deaf to truthful words (24), 
I did not diminish the grain-measure (6), I was not ava- 
ricious (3), my heart devoured not (coveted not?) (28), my 
heart was not hasty (31), I did not multiply words in 
speaking (33), my voice was not over loud (37), my mouth 
did not wag (lit. go) (17), I did not wax hot (in temper) 
(23), I did not revile (29), I was not an eavesdropper (16), 
I was not puffed up (39)." The dead man is free from 
sexual immorality: "I did not commit adultery with a 

1 The variants indicate "I did not r take possession 1 of my (own) 
property," or "I did not take possession 1 except of just (or true) 


woman (19), I did not commit self-pollution (20, 27) ;" and 
ceremonial transgressions are also denied : " I did not revile 
the king (35), I did not blaspheme the god (38), I did not 
slay the divine bull (13), I did not steal temple endowment 
(8), I did not diminish food in the temple (15), I did not 
do an abomination of the gods (42)." These, with several 
repetitions and some that are unintelligible, make up 
the declaration of innocence. 1 

Having thus vindicated himself before the entire great 
court, the deceased confidently addresses them : " Hail to 
you, ye gods! I know you, I know your names. I fall 
not before your blades. Report not evil of me to this 
god whom ye follow. My case does not come before you. 
Speak ye the truth concerning me before the All-Lord; 
because I did the truth (or righteousness) in the land of 
Egypt. I did not revile the god. My case did not come 
before the king then reigning. Hail to you, ye gods who 
are in the Hall of Truth, in whose bodies are neither sin 
nor falsehood, who live on truth in Heliopolis . . . before 
Horus dwelling in his sun-disk. 2 Save ye me from Babi, 3 
who lives on the entrails of the great, on that day of the 
great reckoning. Behold, I come to you without sin, with- 
out evil, without wrong. ... I live on righteousness, I 
feed on the righteousness of my heart. I have done that 
which men say, and that wherewith the gods are content. 
I have satisfied the god with that which he desires. I gave 
bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing to the 
naked, and a ferry to him who was without a boat. I 
made divine offerings for the gods and food -offerings for 

1 Book of the Dead, chap. CXXV; Naville, Todtenbuch, I, 
CXXXIV-V; II, pp. 289-309. 

2 It should be noted that this is another evidence of the Solar 
origin of this court. 

3 A hostile demon of the Nether World. 


the dead. Save ye me; protect ye me. Enter no com- 
plaint against me before the Great God. For I am one of 
pure mouth and pure hands, to whom was said ' Welcome, 
welcome' by those who saw him." l With these words 
the claims of the deceased to moral worthiness merge into 
affirmations that he has observed all ceremonial require- 
ments of the Osirian faith, and these form more than half 
of this concluding address to the gods of the court. 

The third record of the judgment was doubtless the 
version which made the deepest impression upon the 
Egyptian. Like the drama of Osiris at Abydos, it is 
graphic and depicts the judgment as effected by the bal- 
ances. In the sumptuously illustrated papyrus of Ani 2 
we see Osiris sitting enthroned at one end of the judgment 
hall, with Isis and Nephthys standing behind him. Along 
one side of the hall are ranged the nine gods of the Heli- 
opolitan Ennead, headed by the Sun-god. 3 They after- 
ward announce the verdict, showing the originally Solar 
origin of this third scene of judgment, in which Osiris has 
now assumed the chief place. In the midst stand "the 
balances of Re wherewith he weighs truth," as we have 
seen them called in the Feudal Age; 4 but the judgment in 
which they figure has now become Osirianized. The bal- 
ances are manipulated by the ancient mortuary god 
Anubis, behind whom stands the divine scribe Thoth, 
who presides over the weighing, pen and writing palette 

iBook of the Dead, chap. CXXV; Naville, Todtenbuch, I, 
CXXXVII, 11. 2-13; II, pp. 310-317. 

2 British Museum Papyrus 10470. See Facsimile of the Papyrus 
of Ani, in the British Museum. Printed by order of the Trustees. 
London, 1894, pis. iii-iv. 

3 The number has been adjusted to the exclusion of Osiris, who 
sits as chief judge. Isis and Nephthys are placed together and 
counted as one. 

4 See above, p. 253. 


in hand, that he may record the result. Behind him 
crouches a grotesque monster called the "Devouress," 
with the head of a crocodile, fore quarters of a lion and 
hind quarters of a hippopotamus, waiting to devour the 
unjust soul. Beside the balances in subtle suggestive- 
ness stands the figure of "Destiny" accompanied by 
Renenet and Meskhenet, the two goddesses of birth, 
about to contemplate the fate of the soul at whose com- 
ing into this world they had once presided. Behind the 
enthroned divinities sit the gods "Taste" and "Intelli- 
gence." In other rolls we not infrequently find standing 
at the entrance the goddess "Truth, daughter of Re," 
who ushers into the hall of judgment the newly arrived 
soul. Ani and his wife, with bowed heads and depreca- 
tory gestures, enter the fateful hall, and Anubis at once 
calls for the heart of Ani. In the form of a tiny vase, 
which is in Egyptian writing the hieroglyph for heart, 
one side of the balances bears the heart of Ani, while in 
the other side appears a feather, the symbol and hieroglyph 
for Truth or Righteousness. At the critical moment Ani 
addresses his own heart: "O my heart that came from 
my mother! my heart belonging to my being! Rise 
not up against me as a witness. Oppose me not in the 
council (court of justice). Be not hostile to me before 
the master of the balances. Thou art my ka that is in 
my body. . . . Let not my name be of evil odor with the 
court, speak no lie against me in the presence of the god." 
Evidently this appeal has proven effective, for Thoth, 
"envoy of the Great Ennead, that is in the presence of 
Osiris, " at once says : " Hear ye this word in truth. I have 
judged the heart of Osiris [Ani] l His soul stands as a 
witness concerning him, his character is just by the great 
1 Omitted by the scribe. 


balances. No sin of his has been found." The Nine 
Gods of the Ennead at once respond : " r How good 1 it is, 
this which comes forth from thy just mouth. Osiris Ani, 
the justified, witnesses. There is no sin of his, there is 
no evil of his with us. The Devouress shall not be given 
power over him. Let there be given to him the bread 
that cometh forth before Osiris, the domain that abideth 
in the field of offerings, like the Followers of Horus." 

Having thus received a favorable verdict, the fortunate 
Ani is led forward by "Horus, son of Isis," who presents 
him to Osiris, at the same time saying: "I come to thee, 
Wennofer; I bring to thee Osiris Ani. His righteous heart 
comes forth from the balances and he has no sin in the 
sight of any god or goddess. Thoth has judged him in 
writing; the Nine Gods have spoken concerning him a 
very just testimony. Let there be given to him the bread 
and beer that come forth before Osiris- Wennofer like the 
Followers of Horus." With his hand in that of Horus, 
Ani then addresses Osiris: "Lo, I am before thee, Lord of 
the West. There is no sin in my body. I have not 
spoken a lie knowingly nor (if so) was there a second time. 
Let me be like the favorites who are in thy following." l 
Thereupon he kneels before the great god, and as he pre- 
sents a table of offerings is received into his kingdom. 

These three accounts of the judgment, in spite of the 
grotesque appurtenances with which the priests of the 
time have embellished them, are not without impressive- 
ness even to the modern beholder as he contemplates these 
rolls of three thousand five hundred years ago, and realizes 
that these scenes are the graphic expression of the same 
moral consciousness, of the same admonishing voice 
within, to which we still feel ourselves amenable. Ani 

1 Papyrus of Ani, pi. iv. 


importunes his heart not to betray him, and his cry finds 
an echo down all the ages in such words as those of 
Richard : 

"My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 
And every tongue brings in a several tale, 
And every tale condemns me for a villain." 

The Egyptian heard the same voice, feared it, and 
endeavored to silence it. He strove to still the voice 
of the heart; he did not yet confess, but insistently main- 
tained his innocence. The next step in his higher devel- 
opment was humbly to disclose the consciousness of guilt 
to his god. That step he later took. But another force 
intervened and greatly hampered the complete emanci- 
pation of his conscience. There can be no doubt that this 
Osirian judgment thus graphically portrayed and the uni- 
versal reverence for Osiris in the Empire had much to 
do with spreading the belief in moral responsibility be- 
yond the grave, and in giving general currency to those 
ideas of the supreme value of moral worthiness which we 
have seen among the moralists and social philosophers of 
the Pharaoh's court several centuries earlier, in the Feu- 
dal Age. The Osiris faith had thus become a great power 
for righteousness among the people. While the Osirian 
destiny was open to all, nevertheless all must prove them- 
selves morally acceptable to him. 

Had the priests left the matter thus, all would have 
been well. Unhappily, however, the development of be- 
lief in the efficacy of magic in the next world continued. 
All material blessings, as we have seen, might infallibly 
be attained by the use of the proper charm. Even the 
less tangible mental equipment, the "heart," meaning the 
understanding, might also be restored by magical agencies. 


It was inevitable that the priests should now take the 
momentous step of permitting such agencies to enter also 
the world of moral values. Magic might become an 
agent for moral ends. The Book of the Dead is chiefly a 
book of magical charms, and the section pertaining to the 
judgment did not continue to remain an exception. The 
poignant words addressed by Ani to his heart as it was 
weighed in the balances, " O my heart, rise not up against 
me as a witness," were now written upon a stone image of 
the sacred beetle, the scarabeus, and placed over the 
heart as a mandate of magical potency preventing the 
heart from betraying the character of the deceased. The 
words of this charm became a chapter of the Book of the 
Dead, where they bore the title, " Chapter of Preventing 
that the Heart of a Man Oppose Him in the Nether 
World." x The scenes of the judgment and the text of 
the Declaration of Innocence were multiplied on rolls by 
the scribes and sold to all the people. In these copies 
the places for the name of the deceased were left vacant, 
and the purchaser filled in the blanks after he had se- 
cured the document. The words of the verdict, declar- 
ing the deceased had successfully met the judgment and 
acquitting him of evil, were not lacking in any of these 
rolls. Any citizen whatever the character of his life might 
thus secure from the scribes a certificate declaring that 
Blank was a righteous man before it was known who 
Blank would be. He might even obtain a formulary so 
mighty that the Sun-god, as the real power behind the 
judgment, would be cast down from heaven into the Nile, 
if he did not bring forth the deceased fully justified be- 
fore his court. 2 Thus the earliest moral development which 

1 Book of the Dead, chap. XXX. 

2 Book of the Dead, ed. Naville, chap. LXV, 11. 10-16. 


we can trace in the ancient East was suddenly arrested, or 
at least seriously checked, by the detestable devices of a 
corrupt priesthood eager for gain. 

It is needless to point out the confusion of distinctions 
involved in this last application of magic. It is the old 
failure to perceive the difference between that which 
goeth in and that which cometh out of the man. A jus- 
tification mechanically applied from without, and freeing 
the man from punishments coming from without, cannot, 
of course, heal the ravages that have taken place within. 
The voice within, to which the Egyptian was more sensi- 
tive than any people of the earlier East, and to which the 
whole idea of the moral ordeal in the hereafter was due, 
could not be quieted by any such means. The general 
reliance upon such devices for escaping ultimate respon- 
sibility for an unworthy life must have seriously poi- 
soned the life of the people. While the Book of the 
Dead discloses to us more fully than ever before in the 
history of Egypt the character of the moral judgment in 
the hereafter, and the reality with which the Egyptian 
clothed his conception of moral responsibility, it is like- 
wise a revelation of ethical decadence. In so far as the 
Book of the Dead had become a magical agency for se- 
curing moral vindication in the hereafter, irrespective of 
character, it had become a positive force for evil. 

So strong was the moral sense of the Egyptian, how- 
ever, that he did not limit the value of a worthy life to 
its availability in rendering him acceptable to Osiris in 
the next life. Herein lies the limitation of the Osirian 
ethics which bade a man think only of moral consequences 
beyond the grave. After all, Osiris was a god of the 
dead. The old social philosophers of the Feudal Age 
had preached the righteousness of Re, the Sun-god, and 


demanded social justice here because Re demanded it. 
They were not without their descendants in the Empire — 
men who found in the Solar faith an obligation to right- 
eous living here and now, and who discerned earthly 
rewards in so living. The Sun-god was not chiefly a god 
of the dead. He reigned in the earthly affairs of men, 
and during the earthly life men felt the moral obligation 
which he placed upon them hourly. One of the archi- 
tects of Amenhotep III, addressing a hymn of praise to 
the Sun-god, says: "I was a valiant leader among thy 
monuments, doing righteousness for thy heart. I know 
that thou art satisfied with righteousness. Thou makest 
great him who doeth it on earth. I did it and thou didst 
make me great." l Similarly, when the Pharaoh made 
oath he swore, "As Re loves me, as my father Anion 
(long since identified with Re) favors me;" 2 and the con- 
queror Thutmose III in making this oath to the truth of 
what he says, and affirming his respect for the truth in 
the sight of his god, refers to the Sun-god's presence thus : 
" For he knoweth heaven and he knoweth earth, he seeth 
the whole earth hourly." 3 While it is true that the sub- 
terranean hereafter of the Osiris faith depicts the Sun- 
god as journeying from cavern to cavern beneath the 
earth, passing through the realm of Osiris and bringing 
light and joy to the dead who dwell there, this is a con- 
ception unknown to the early Solar theology as found in 
the Pyramid Texts. 4 In the Empire the Sun-god is pre- 
eminently a god of the world of living men, in whose af- 

1 British Museum Stela, No. 826, published by Birch, Transac- 
tions of the Soc. of Bib. Arch., VIII, 143; and in Pierret's Recueil, I. 
I had also my own copy of the original. 

2 BAR, II, 318, 570. 3 BAR, II, 570. 

4 It is not likely that the "caves" referred to in Pyr. § 852 have 
any connection with the subterranean caverns of the Osirian faith. 


fairs he is constantly present and active. Men feel their 
responsibility to him here and now, and that dominion 
deepening constantly in the hearts of men is now also 
to expand with the expanding horizon of the imperial 
age until, for the first time in history, there dawns upon 
the eyes of these early Nile-dwellers the vision of the 



In the Feudal Age the social realm had made its im- 
pression upon religion as in the Pyramid Age the Egyp- 
tian state, the political realm had done. Both these were 
limited to the territory of Egypt. The Pyramid Age 
had gained a dim vision of the vast extent of the Sun-god's 
domain, and had once addressed him by the sounding 
title "Limitless." l But this remained, as it were, a mo- 
mentary glimpse without effect upon the Solar theology 
as a whole. The Sun-god ruled only Egypt, and in the 
great Sun-hymn of the Pyramid Texts 2 he stands guar- 
dian on the Egyptian frontiers, where he builds the gates 
which restrain all outsiders from entering his inviolable 
domain. In the Pyramid Age, too, the Sun-god had al- 
ready begun the process of absorbing the other gods of 
Egypt, a process resulting even at so remote a date in a 
form of national pantheism, in which all the gods ulti- 
mately coalesced into forms and functions of one. But 
even this process, though it did not cease, had left the 
supreme god's dominion still restricted to Egypt. He 
was very far from being a world-god. The Egyptians 
indeed had not as yet gained the world-idea, the world- 
empire over which they might install the world-ruler. 
The influences of an environment restricted to the limits 

1 Pyr. § 1434. 2 See above, pp. 13-14. 



of the Nile valley had now, however, gone as far as they 
could, when a career of imposing foreign expansion of 
national power enlarged the theatre of thought and action. 
The Solar theology had been sensitively responsive to 
conditions in the Nile- valley world. It proved to be not 
less sensitive to the larger world, to include which the 
Egyptian horizon had now expanded. 

Egypt's imperial expansion northward and southward 
until the Pharaoh's power had united the contiguous 
regions of Asia and Africa into the first stable Empire in 
history is the commanding fact in the history of the East 
in the sixteenth century B. C. The consolidation of that 
power by Thutmose Ill's twenty years' campaigning in 
Asia is a stirring chapter of military imperialism in which 
for the first time in the East we can discern the skilfully 
organized and mobile forces of a great state as they are 
brought to bear with incessant impact upon the nations 
of western Asia, until the Egyptian supremacy is un- 
disputed from the Greek Islands, the coasts of Asia Minor, 
and the highlands of the Upper Euphrates on the north 
to the Fourth Cataract of the Nile on the south. This 
great military leader himself made the remark which we 
have quoted above regarding his god : " He seeth the whole 
earth hourly." If this was true it was because the sword 
of the Pharaoh had carried the power of Egypt's god to 
the limit of Egypt's Empire. 1 Fifty years earlier, indeed, 
Thutmose I proclaimed his kingdom as far as "the circuit 
of the sun." 2 In the Old Kingdom the Sun-god was con- 
ceived as a Pharaoh, whose kingdom was Egypt. With 
the expansion of the Egyptian kingdom into a world- 
empire it was inevitable that the domain of the god 

1 See Thutmose Ill's Hymn of Victory, BAR, II, 655-662. 

2 BAR, II, 98. 


should likewise expand. As the kingdom had long since 
found expression in religion, so now the Empire was a 
powerful influence upon religious thought. 

While this was a more or less mechanical and uncon- 
scious process, it was accompanied by an intellectual 
awakening which shook the old Egyptian traditions to 
the foundations and set the men of the age to thinking 
in a larger world. Thutmose III was the first character 
of universal aspects, the first world-hero. As such he 
made a profound impression upon his age. The idea of 
universal power, of a world-empire, was visibly and tan- 
gibly bodied forth in his career. There is a touch of uni- 
versalism now discernible in the theology of the Empire 
which is directly due to such impressions as he and his 
successors made. Egypt is forced out of the immemorial 
isolation of her narrow valley into w T orld-relations, with 
which the theology of the time must reckon — relations 
with which the Sun-god, as we have seen, was inextricably 
involved. Commercial connections, maintained from an 
immemorially remote past, had not sufficed to bring the 
great world without into the purview of Egyptian think- 
ing. The limits of the dominion of the Egyptian gods 
had been fixed as the outer fringes of the Nile valley long 
before the outside world was familiar to the Nile-dwellers; 
and merely commercial intercourse with a larger world 
had not been able to shake the tradition. Many a mer- 
chant had seen a stone fall in distant Babylon and in 
Thebes alike, but it had not occurred to him, or to any 
man in that far-off age, that the same natural force 
reigned in these widely separated countries. The world 
was far indeed from the lad lying beneath the apple-tree 
and discovering a universal force in the fall of an apple. 
Many a merchant of that day, too, had seen the sun rise 


behind the Babylonian ziggurats as it did among the 
clustered obelisks of Thebes, but the thought of the age 
had not yet come to terms with such far-reaching facts as 
these. It was universalism expressed in terms of imperial 
power which first caught the imagination of the thinking 
men of the Empire, and disclosed to them the universal 
sweep of the Sun-god's dominion as a physical fact. 
Monotheism is but imperialism in religion. 

It is no accident, therefore, that about 1400 B. C, in the 
reign of Amenhotep III, the most splendid of the Egyp- 
tian emperors, we find the first of such impressions. Two 
architects, Suti and Hor, twin brothers, whom Amenhotep 
III was employing at Thebes, have left us a Sun-hymn 
on a stela now in the British Museum, 1 which discloses 
the tendency of the age and the widening vision with which 
these men of the Empire were looking out upon the world 
and discerning the unlimited scope of the Sun-god's realm. 

"Hail to thee, beautiful god of every day! 
Rising in the morning without ceasing, 
[•Not 1 ] wearied in labor. 
When thy rays are visible, 
Gold is not considered, 
It is not like thy brilliance. 
Thou art a craftsman shaping thine own limbs; 
Fashioner without being fashioned; 2 

1 British Museum Stela, No. 826. This important monument 
much needs an adequate publication. It is accessible only in two 
very incorrect copies, published by Birch, Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., 
VIII, 143, and Pierret, in his Recueil, I. I had also my own 
copy made in student days, and not much more reliable than the 
publications. I have not yet seen Scott-Moncrieff's recent vol- 
ume of British Museum stelse, and do not know whether it was in- 
cluded by him. The above translation could undoubtedly be cor- 
rected in parts on the basis of a better text. 

2 Or ''Begetter without being born," as already in the Middle 
Kingdom; see above, p. 274. 


Unique in his qualities, traversing eternity; 

Over ways r with 1 millions under his guidance. 

Thy brilliance is like the brilliance of the sky, 

Thy colors gleam more than the hues of it. 1 

When thou sailest across the sky all men behold thee, 

(Though) thy going is hidden from their sight. 

When thou showest thyself at morning every day, 

. . . under thy majesty, though the day be brief, 

Thou traversest a journey of leagues, 

Even millions and hundred-thousands of time. 

Every day is under thee. 

When thy setting •comes 1 , 

The hours of the night hearken to thee likewise. 

When thou hast traversed it 

There comes no ending to thy labors. 

All men, they see by means of thee. 

Nor do they finish when thy majesty sets, 

(For) thou wakest to rise in the morning, 

And thy radiance, it opens the eyes (again). 

When thou settest in Manu, 

Then they sleep like the dead. 

Hail to thee! O disk of day, 

Creator of all and giver of their sustenance, 

Great Falcon, brilliantly plumaged, 

Brought forth to raise himself on high of himself, 

Self-generator, without being born. 

First-born Falcon in the midst of the sky, 

To whom jubilation is made at his rising and his setting likewise. 

Fashioner of the produce of the soil, 

Taking possession of the Two Lands (Egypt), from great to small, 

A mother, profitable to gods and men, 

A craftsman of experience, . . . 

Valiant herdman who drives his cattle, 

Their refuge and giver of their sustenance, 

Who passes by, running the course of Khepri (the Sun-god), 

1 The word "hues" is the word commonly meaning "skin." That 
it has the meaning "hue" or similar is shown by similar passages 
in Naville, Mythe aVHorus, pi. xii, 1. 2; Amarna Hymn of Tutu % 
1. 2, and Amarna Hymn of Api, 11. 2-3. 


Who determines his own birth, 

Exalting his beauty in the body of Nut, 

Illuminating the Two Lands (Egypt) with his disk, 

The primordial being, who himself made himself; 

Who beholds that which he has made, 

Sole lord taking captive all lands every day, 

As one beholding them that walk therein; 

Shining in the sky r a being as the sun 1 . 

He makes the seasons by the months, 

Heat when he desires, 

Cold when he desires. 

He makes the limbs to languish 

When he enfolds them, 

Every land is in rejoicing 

At his rising every day, in order to praise him." 

It is evident in such a hymn as this that the vast sweep 
of the Sun-god's course over all the lands and peoples of 
the earth has at last found consideration, and the logical 
conclusion has also followed. The old stock phrases of 
the earlier hymns, the traditional references to the fal- 
con, and the mythological allusions involved have not 
wholly disappeared, but the momentous step has been 
taken of extending the sway of the Sun-god over all lands 
and peoples. No earlier document left us by the thought 
of Egypt contains such unequivocal expression of this 
thought as we find here: 

"Sole lord, taking captive all lands every day, 
As one beholding them that walk therein." 

It is important to observe also that this tendency is con- 
nected directly with the social movement of the Feudal 
Age. Such epithets applied to the Sun-god as 

"Valiant herdman who drives his cattle, 
Their refuge and the giver of their sustenance," 


of course carry us back to the address of Ipuwer and his 
"shepherd of all men." l The other remarkable epithet, 

"A mother, profitable to gods and men," 

carries with it the idea of similar solicitude for mankind. 
The humane aspects of the Sun-god's sway, to which the 
social thinkers of the Feudal Age chiefly contributed, have 
not disappeared among the powerful political motives of 
this new universalism. 

This hymn of the two architects is, however, likewise a 
revelation of one of the chief difficulties in the internal 
situation of the Pharaoh at this time. The hymn bears 
the title: "Adoration of Amon when he rises as Harakhte 
(Horus of the Horizon) "; that is to say, the hymn is ad- 
dressed to Amon as Sun-god. Amon, the old obscure local 
god of Thebes, whose name is not to be found in the great 
religious documents of the earlier age like the Pyramid 
Texts, 2 had by this time gained the chief place in the 
state theology, owing to the supreme position held by 
the ruling family of his native town in the Empire. The- 
ologically, he had long succumbed to the ancient tendency 
which identified the old local gods with the Sun-god, and 
he had long been called " Amon-Re." His old local char- 
acteristics, whatever they may have been, had been sup- 
planted by those of the Sun-god, and the ancient local 
Amon had been completely Solarized. In this way it 
had been possible to raise him to the supreme place in 
the pantheon. At the same time this supremacy was 

^ee above, p. 211. 

2 His name occurs four times in the Turin Book of the Dead, pub- 
lished by Lepsius. It does not occur at all in the Pyramid Texts, 
unless the reference in Pyr. § 1095 is to him, which seems to me not 
entirely certain. 


not confined to theological theory. Economically and 
administratively, Amon actually received the first place 
among the gods. For the first time in the history of the 
country the great organizer, Thutmose III, seems to 
have merged the priesthoods of all the temples of the land 
into one great sacerdotal organization, at the head of 
which he placed the High Priest of Amon. 1 This is the 
earliest national priesthood as yet known in the early 
East, and the first pontifex maximus. This Amonite 
papacy constituted a powerful political obstacle in the 
way of realizing the supremacy of the ancient Sun-god. 

When Amenhotep Ill's son, Amenhotep IV, succeeded 
his father, about 1375 B. C, a keen struggle arose between 
the royal house, on the one hand, and the sacerdotal or- 
ganization dominated by Amon, on the other. It is evi- 
dent that the young king favored the claims of the old 
Sun-god as opposed to those of Amon, but early in his 
reign we find him ardently supporting a new form of the 
old Solar faith, which may have been the result of a com- 
promise between the two. At a time when the Asiatic 
situation was exceedingly critical, and the Pharaoh's su- 
premacy there was threatened, he devoted himself with 
absorbing zeal to the new Solar universalism which we 
have discerned under his father. The Sun-god was given 
a designation which freed the new faith from the com- 
promising polytheistic tradition of the old Solar theology. 
He was now called "Aton," an ancient name for the 
physical sun, and probably designating his disk. It oc- 

x Hapuseneb, the first High Priest of Amon, who occupied the 
position at the head of the new sacerdotal organization, was grand 
vizier under queen Hatshepsut, but it is more likely that her hus- 
band, Thutmose III, effected this organization than that she should 
have done it. However this may be, the evidence will be found in 
BAR, II, 388 #. 


curs twice in the hymn of the two architects of Amenho- 
tep III, translated above, and it had already gained some 
favor under this king, who named one of his royal barges 
" Aton-Gleams." l There was an effort made to make the 
name "Aton" equivalent in some of the old forms to the 
word "god"; thus the traditional term "divine offering" 
(lit. "god's offering") was now called "Aton offering." 2 
Not only did the Sun-god receive a new name, but the 
young king now gave him a new symbol also. The most 
ancient symbol of the Sun-god, as we have seen, was a 
pyramid, and as a falcon the figure of that bird was also 
used to designate him. These, however, were intelligible 
only in Egypt, and Amenhotep IV had a wider arena in 
view. The new symbol depicted the sun as a disk from 
which diverging beams radiated downward, each ray ter- 
minating in a human hand. It was a masterly symbol, 
suggesting a power issuing from its celestial source, and 
putting its hand upon the world and the affairs of men. 
As far back as the Pyramid Texts the rays of the Sun-god 
had been likened to his arms and had been conceived as 
an agency on earth: "The arm of the sunbeams is lifted 
with king Unis," 3 raising him to the skies. Such a symbol 
was suited to be understood throughout the world which 
the Pharaoh controlled. There was also some effort to 
define the Solar power thus symbolized. The full name 
of the Sun-god was "Harakhte (Horizon-Horus), rejoicing 
in the horizon in his name 'Heat which is in Aton.'" It 
was enclosed in two royal cartouches, like the double 
name of the Pharaoh, a device suggested by the analogy 
of the Pharaoh's power, and another clear evidence of the 
impression which the Empire as a state had now made on 

1 BAR, II, 869; see also the author's History of Egypt, p. 360. 

2 BAR. II, 987. 3 Pyr. §334. 


the Solar theology. But the name enclosed in the car- 
touches roughly defined the actual physical force of the 
sun in the visible world, and was no political figure. The 
word rendered "heat" sometimes also means "light." It 
is evident that what the king was deifying was the force 
by which the Sun made himself felt on earth. In harmony 
with this conclusion are the numerous statements in the 
Aton hymns, which, as we shall see, represent Aton as 
everywhere active on earth by means of his "rays." 
While it is evident that the new faith drew its inspi- 
ration from Heliopolis, so that the king assuming the 
office of High Priest of Aton called himself "Great 
Seer," the title of the High Priest of Heliopolis, never- 
theless most of the old lumber which made up the exter- 
nals of the traditional theology was rejected. We look 
in vain for the sun-barques, and in the same way 
also later accretions, like the voyage through the subter- 
ranean caverns of the dead, are completely shorn away. 1 
To introduce the Aton faith into Thebes, Amenhotep IV 
erected there a sumptuous temple of the new god, which, 
of course, received liberal endowments from the royal 
treasury. If the Aton movement was intended as a com- 
promise with the priests of Amon, it failed. The bitterest 
enmities soon broke out, culminating finally in the deter- 
mination on the king's part to make Aton sole god of the 
Empire and to annihilate Amon. The effort to obliterate 
all trace of the existence of the upstart Amon resulted in 
the most extreme measures. The king changed his own 
name from "Amenhotep" ("Amen rests" ro "is satisfied") 

1 The decree for the burial of the sacred bull of Heliopolis, Mnevis, 
at Amarna (Davies, Amarna, V, p. 30) is clearly a compromise with 
the Heliopolitan priests, but of course does not mean " animal wor- 


to "Ikhnaton," which means "Aton is satisfied," and is a 
translation of the king's old name into a corresponding 
idea in the Aton faith. 1 The name of Amon, wherever it 
occurred on the great monuments of Thebes, was expunged, 
and in doing so not even the name of the king's father, 
Amenhotep III, was respected. These erasures were not 
confined to the name of Amon. Even the word "gods" 
as a compromising plural was expunged wherever found, 
and the names of the other gods, too, were treated like 
that of Amon. 2 

Finding Thebes embarrassed with too many theological 
traditions, in spite of its prestige and its splendor, Ikhnaton 
forsook it and built a new capital about midway between 
Thebes and the sea, at a place now commonly known as 
Tell el-Amarna. He called it Akhetaton, "Horizon of 
Aton." The name of the Sun-god is the only divine name 
found in the place, and it was evidently intended as a 
centre for the dissemination of Solar monotheism. Here 
several sanctuaries 3 of Aton were erected, and in the 
boundary landmarks, imposing stelse which the king set 
up in the eastern and western cliffs, the place was formally 
devoted to his exclusive service. A similar Aton city 
was founded in Nubia, and in all likelihood there was 
another in Asia. The three great portions of the Empire, 
Egypt, Nubia, and Syria, were thus each given a centre 

1 See Sethe, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 44, 116-118, where this 
new rendering of the name is demonstrated. The rendering in the 
author's history, p. 364, is to be changed accordingly. 

2 t It has been widely stated that the hostility of Ikhnaton did not 
extend beyond his erasure of Amon; but this is an error. I found 
other gods expunged in Nubia. See also my remarks in Zeitschr. 
fiir aegypt. Sprache, 40, 109-110. 

3 There were at least four. The earlier Boundary Stelae give five 
(Davies, Amarna, V, p. 30), but one is evidently a dittography of 
the preceding in the ancient scribes copy. 


of the Aton faith. Besides these sanctuaries of Aton 
were also built at various other places in Egypt. 1 

This was, of course, not accomplished without building 
up a powerful court party, which the king could oppose, 
to the evicted priesthoods, especially that of Amon. The 
resulting convulsion undoubtedly affected seriously the 
power of the royal house. The life of this court party, 
which now unfolded at Akhetaton, centred about the 
propagation of the new faith, and as preserved to us in 
the wall reliefs which fill the chapels of the cliff tombs, 
excavated by the king for his nobles in the face of the low 
cliffs of the eastern plateau behind the new city, it forms, 
perhaps, the most interesting and picturesque chapter in 
the story of the early East. 2 It is to the tombs of these 
partisans of the king that we owe our knowledge of the 
content of the remarkable teaching which he was now 
propagating. They contain a series of hymns in praise 
of the Sun-god, or of the Sun-god and the king alternately, 
which afford us at least a glimpse into the new world of 
thought, in which we behold this young king and his 

X A list of the Aton temples will be found in my essay in the 
Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 40, 106-113. The Nubian city of 
Ikhnaton was found in 1907 by the University of Chicago Expedi- 
tion. See my Monuments of Sudanese Nubia, pp. 51-82. 

2 These tombs were frequently visited and studied in the early 
days of Egyptology, and fragmentarily published. No complete 
publication, however, was issued until 1903-8, when N. de G. 
Davies published his valuable Rock Tombs of El Amarna, vols. 
I-VI, London, 1903-8, which includes everything at Amarna 
except the town site and the tomb of the king. I copied the most 
important hymns there in 1895, and these two sources are the bases 
of the renderings given above. For a presentation of the Amarna 
situation, historically considered, especially the life of the court in 
the new environment, the reader may refer to the author's History 
of Egypt, pp. 358-378. A popular discussion and description of the 
remarkable reliefs in the tombs will be found in the author's Two 
Thousand Miles Up the Nile, soon to be published. 


associates lifting up their eyes and endeavoring to dis- 
cern God in the illimitable sweep of his power — God no 
longer of the Nile valley only, but of all men and of all 
the world. We can do no better at this juncture than to 
let these hymns speak for themselves. The longest and 
most important is as follows: 1 


"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of the sky, 
O living Aton, Beginnmg-xiliifeJ 
When thou risest in the eastern horizon, 
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty. 
Thou art beautiful, great, glittering, high above every land, 
Thy rays, they encompass the lands, even all that thou hast made. 
Thou art Re, and thou earnest them all away captive; 2 
Thou bindest them by thy love. 
Though thou art far away, thy rays are upon earth; 
Though thou art on high, thy [footprints are the day\ 


"When thou settest in the western horizon of the sky, 
The earth is in darkness like the dead; 
They sleep in their chambers, 
Their heads are wrapped up, 
Their nostrils are stopped, 
And none seeth the other, 
While all their things are stolen 

x The best text is that of Davies, Amarna, VI, pi. xxix. Full 
commentary will be found in my De hymnis in solem sub rege Ame- 
nophide IV. conceptis, Berlin, 1894, though unfortunately based on 
the older text of Bouriant. Some changes in the above translation, 
as compared with that in the author's History, are due to a few new 
readings in Davies's text, as well as to further study of the docu- 
ment also. The division into strophes is not in the original, but is 
indicated here for the sake of clearness. The titles of the strophes 
I have inserted to aid the modern reader. 

2 There is a pun here on the word Re, which is the same as the 
word used for "all." 


Which are under their heads, 

And they know it not. 

Every lion cometh forth from his den, 

All serpents, they sting. 

Darkness . . . 

The world is in silence, 

He that made them resteth in his horizon. 


"Bright is the earth when thou risest in the horizon. 
When thou shinest as Aton by day 
Thou drivest away the darkness. 
When thou sendest forth thy rays, 
The Two Lands (Egypt) are in daily festivity, 
Awake and standing upon their feet 
When thou hast raised them up. 
Their limbs bathed, they take their clothing, 
Their arms uplifted in adoration to thy dawning. 
(Then) in all the world they do their work. 


"All cattle rest upon their pasturage, 
The trees and the plants flourish, 
The birds flutter in their marshes, 
Their wings uplifted in adoration to thee. 
All the sheep dance upon their feet, 
All winged things fly, 
They live when thou hast shone upon them. 


"The barques sail up-stream and down-stream alike. 
Every highway is open because thou dawnest. 
The fish in the river leap up before thee. 
Thy rays are in the midst of the great green sea. 


"Creator of the germ in woman, 
Maker of seed in man, 
Giving life to the son in the body of his mother, 


Soothing him that he may not weep, 

Nurse (even) in the womb, 

Giver of breath to animate every one that he maketh! 

When he cometh forth from the body ... on the day of his birth, 

Thou openest his mouth in speech, 

Thou suppliest his necessities. 


"When the fledgling in the egg chirps in the shell, 
Thou givest him breath therein to preserve him alive. 
When thou hast r brought him together 1 , 
To (the point of) bursting it in the egg, 
He cometh forth from the egg 
To chirp r with all his might 1 . 
He goeth about upon his two feet 
When he hath come forth therefrom. 


"How manifold are thy works! 
They are hidden from before (us), 
O sole God, whose powers no other possesseth. 1 
Thou didst create the earth according to thy heart 2 
While thou wast alone : 
Men, all cattle large and small, 
All that are upon the earth, 
That go about upon their feet; 
[All] that are on high, 
That fly with their wings. 
The foreign countries, Syria and Kush, 
The land of Egypt; 

1 The shorter hymns follow the phrase "sole God," with the addi- 
tion, "beside whom there is no other" (see Davies, Amarna, I, 
XXXVI, 1. 1, and III, XXIX, 1. 1). 

This use of the word sp for "quality" or "power" will be found 
also in the hymn of Suti and Hor translated above (Brit. Mus. Stela 
826, 1. 3); Great Hymn to Amon (1, 5), and similarly on the late 
statue of Hor (Louvre 88, Brugsch, Thes., VI, 1251, 1. 1). 

2 The word "heart" may mean either "pleasure" or "under- 
standing" here. 


Thou settest every man into his place, 

Thou suppliest their necessities. 

Every one has his possessions, 

And his days are reckoned. 

The tongues are divers in speech, 

Their forms likewise and their skins are distinguished. 

(For) thou makest different the strangers. 


"Thou makest the Nile in the Nether World, 
Thou bringest it as thou desirest, 
To preserve alive the people. 1 
For thou hast made them for thyself, 
The lord of them all, resting among them; 
Thou lord of every land, who risest for them, 
Thou Sun of day, great in majesty. 
All the distant countries, 
Thou makest (also) their life, 
Thou hast set a Nile in the sky; 
When it falleth for them, 
It maketh waves upon the mountains, 
Like the great green sea, 
Watering their fields in their towns. 

"How excellent are thy designs, lord of eternity! 
There is a Nile in the sky for the strangers 
And for the cattle of every country that go upon their feet. 
(But) the Nile, it cometh from the Nether World for Egypt. 


"Thy rays nourish 2 every garden; 
When thou risest they live, 
They grow by thee. 
Thou makest the seasons 
In order to create all thy work: 
Winter to bring them coolness, 
And heat that r they may taste 1 thee. 

1 The word is one used only of the people of Egypt. 

2 The word used implies the nourishment of a mother at the breast. 


Thou didst make the distant sky to rise therein, 

In order to behold all that thou hast made, 

Thou alone, shining in thy form as living Aton, 

Dawning, glittering, going afar and returning. 

Thou makest millions of forms 

Through thyself alone; 

Cities, towns, and tribes, highways and rivers. 

All eyes see thee before them, 

For thou art Aton of the day over the earth. 


"Thou art in my heart, 
There is no other that knoweth thee 
Save thy son Ikhnaton. 
Thou hast made him wise 
In thy designs and in thy might. 
The world is in thy hand, 
Even as thou hast made them. 
When thou hast risen they live, 
When thou settest they die; 
For thou art length of life of thyself, 
Men live through thee, 
While (their) eyes are upon thy beauty 
Until thou settest. 
All labor is put away 
When thou settest in the west. 

Thou didst establish the world, 

And raise them up for thy son, 

Who came forth from thy limbs, 

The king of Upper and Lower Egypt, 

Living in Truth, Lord of the Two Lands, 

Nefer-khepru-Re, Wan-Re (Ikhnaton), 

Son of Re, living in Truth, lord of diadems, 

Ikhnaton, whose life is long; 

(And for) the chief royal wife, his beloved, 

Mistress of the Two Lands, Nefer-nefru-Aton, Nof retete, 

Living and flourishing for ever and ever." 


This great royal hymn doubtless represents an excerpt, or 
a series of fragments excerpted, from the ritual of Aton, 
as it was celebrated from day to day in the Aton temple 
at Amarna. Unhappily, it was copied in the cemetery in 
but one tomb, where about a third of it has perished by 
the vandalism of the modern natives, leaving us for the 
lost portion only a very inaccurate and hasty modern 
copy of thirty years ago (1883). The other tombs were 
supplied, with their devotional inscriptions, from the cur- 
rent paragraphs and stock phrases which made up the 
knowledge of the Aton faith as understood by the scribes 
and painters who decorated these tombs. It should not 
be forgotten, therefore, that the fragments of the Aton 
faith which have survived to us in the Amarna cemetery, 
our chief source, have thus filtered mechanically through 
the indifferent hands, and the starved and listless minds 
of a few petty bureaucrats on the outskirts of a great re- 
ligious and intellectual movement. Apart from the Royal 
Hymn, they were elsewhere content with bits and snatches 
copied in some cases from the Royal Hymn itself, or other 
fragments patched together in the form of a shorter hymn, 
which they then slavishly copied in whole or in part from 
tomb to tomb. Where the materials are so meagre, and 
the movement revealed so momentous, even the few new 
contributions furnished by the short hymn are of great 
value. 1 In four cases the hymn is attributed to the king 
himself; that is, he is represented as reciting it to Aton. 
The lines are as follows : 

1 The short hymn was put together in a composite text of all ver- 
sions in the second (unpublished) portion of my De hymnis in solem, 
and this was later supplemented by my own copies. Davies has 
also put together a composite text from five tombs in his Amarna, 
IV, pis. xxxii-xxxiii. The above translation is based on both 


"Thy rising is beautiful, O living Aton, lord of Eternity; 
Thou art shining, beautiful, strong; 
Thy love is great and mighty, 
Thy rays r are cast 1 into every face. 
Thy glowing hue brings life to hearts, 
When thou hast filled the Two Lands with thy love. 
O God who himself fashioned himself, 
Maker of every land, 
Creator of that which is upon it: 
Men, all cattle large and small, 
All trees that grow in the soil. 
They live when thou dawnest for them, 

Thou art the mother and the father of all that thou hast made. 
As for their eyes, when thou dawnest, 
They see by means of thee. 
Thy rays illuminate the whole earth, 
And every heart rejoices because of seeing thee, 
When thou dawnest as their lord. 

"When thou settest in the western horizon of the sky, 
They sleep after the manner of the dead, 
Their heads are wrapped up, 
Their nostrils are stopped, 
Until thy rising comes in the morning, 
In the eastern horizon of the sky. 
Their arms are uplifted in adoration of thee, 
Thou makest hearts to live by thy beauty, 
And men live when thou sendest forth thy rays, 
Every land is in festivity: 
Singing, music, and shoutings of joy 
Are in the hall of the Benben^house, 
Thy temple in Akhet-Aton, the seat of Truth, 
Wherewith thou art satisfied. 
Food and provision are offered therein; 
Thy pure son performs thy pleasing ceremonies, 
O living Aton, at his festal processions. 
All that thou hast made dances before thee, 
Thy august son rejoices, his heart is joyous, 

l See above, p. 71. 


O living Aton, born in the sky every day. 

He begets his august son Wanre (Ikhnaton) 

Like himself without ceasing, 

Son of Re, wearing his beauty, Nefer-khepru-Re, Wanre (Ikhnaton), 

Even me, thy son, in whom thou art satisfied, 

Who bears thy name. 

Thy strength and thy might abide in my heart, 

Thou art Aton, living forever. . . . 

Thou hast made the distant sky to rise therein, 

In order to behold all that thou hast made, 

While thou wast alone. 

Millions of life are in thee to make them live, 

It is the breath of life in the nostrils to behold thy rays. 1 

All flowers live and what grows in the soil 

Is made to grow because thou dawnest. 

They are drunken before thee. 

All cattle skip upon their feet; 

The birds in the marsh fly with joy, 

Their wings that were folded are spread, 

Uplifted in adoration to the living Aton, 

The maker . . ." 2 

In these hymns there is an inspiring universalism not 
found before in the religion of Egypt. It is world wide 
in its sweep. The king claims that the recognition of the 
Sun-god's universal supremacy is also universal, and that 
all men acknowledge his dominion. On the great boun- 
dary stela likewise he says of them, that Aton made them 
"for his own self; all lands, the iEgaeans bear their dues, 
their tribute is upon their backs, for him who made their 
life, him by whose rays men live and breathe the air." 3 

1 Variant: "Breath, it enters the nostrils when thou showest thy- 
self to them." 

2 The remainder of the line is lost. Only one of the five texts 
which exist from the beginning goes as far as this point. It also 
stopped at this place, so that only part of a line has been lost. 

3 Stela K, Davies, Amarna, V, pi. xxix, 1. 7. 


It is clear that he was projecting a world religion, and en- 
deavoring to displace by it the nationalism which had 
preceded it for twenty centuries. 

Along with this universal power, Ikhnaton is also 
deeply impressed with the eternal duration of his god; 
and although he himself calmly accepts his own mortality 
and early in his career at Amarna makes public and per- 
manently records on the boundary stelse instructions for 
his own burial, nevertheless he relies upon his intimate re- 
lation with Aton to insure him something of the Sun-god's 
duration. His official titulary always contains the epithet 
after his name, "whose lifetime (or duration) is long." 

But in the beginning of all, Aton called himself forth 
out of the eternal solitude, the author of his own being. 
The king calls him "My rampart of a million cubits, my 
reminder of eternity, my witness of the things of eternity, 
who himself fashioned himself with his own hands, whom 
no artificer knew." l In harmony with this idea, the 
hymns love to reiterate the fact that the creation of the 
world which followed was done while the god was yet 
alone. The words "while thou wert alone" are almost 
a refrain in these hymns. He is the universal creator 
who brought forth all the races of man and distinguished 
them in speech and in color of the skin. His creative 
power still goes on calling forth life, even from the in- 
animate egg. Nowhere do we find more marked the 
naive wonder of the king at the Sun-god's life-giving 
power than in this marvel, that within the egg-shell, 
which the king calls the "stone" of the egg — within this 
lifeless stone, the sounds of life respond to the command 
of Aton, and, nourished by the breath which he s;ives, a 
living creature issues forth. 

1 Boundary Stela K, ibid., V,-pl. xxix, 1. 9. 


This life-giving power is the constant source of life and 
sustenance, and its immediate agency is the rays of the 
Sun. It is in these rays that Aton is present on earth as 
a beneficent power. Thus manifested, the hymns love 
to dwell upon his ever-present universal power. "Thou 
art in the sky, but thy rays are on earth; " "Though thou 
art far away, thy rays are on earth;" "Thy rays are in 
the midst of the great green sea;" "Thy rays are on thy 
beloved son;" "He who makes whole the eyes by his 
rays;" "It is the breath of life in the nostrils to behold 
thy rays;" "Thy child (the king), who came forth from 
thy rays;" "Thou didst fashion him (the king) out of 
thine own rays;" "Thy rays carry a million royal jubi- 
lees;" "When thou sendest forth thy rays, the Two 
Lands are in festivity;" "Thy rays embrace the lands, 
even all that thou hast made;" l "Whether he is in the sky 
or on earth, all eyes behold him without [ceasing] ; he fills 
[every land] with his rays, and makes all men to live; 
with beholding whom may my eyes be satisfied daily, 
when he dawns in this house of Aton and fills it with his 
own self by his beams, beauteous in love, and lays them 
upon me in satisfying life for ever and ever." 2 In these 
last words the king himself expresses his own conscious- 
ness of the god's presence, especially in the temple, by his 
rays. The obvious dependence of Egypt upon the Nile 
made it impossible to ignore this agency of life, and there 
is nothing which discloses more clearly the surprising 
rationalism of Ikhnaton than the fact that he strips off 
without hesitation the venerable body of myth and tradi- 
tion which deified the Nile as Osiris, and attributes the 
inundation to natural forces controlled by his god, who 

1 See my De hymnis in solem, pp. 21-22. 

2 Boundary Stela K, Davies, Amarna, V, pi. xxix, 11. 10-11. 


in like solicitude for other lands has made a Nile for them 
in the sky. 

It is this recognition of the fatherly solicitude of Aton 
for all creatures which lifts the movement of Ikhnaton 
far above all that had before been attained in the 
religion of Egypt or of the whole East before this time. 
" Thou art the father and the mother of all that thou hast 
made" is a thought which anticipates much of the later 
development in religion even down to our own time. 
The picture of the lily-grown marshes, where the flowers 
are "drunken" in the intoxicating radiance of Aton, 
where the birds unfold their wings and lift them " in adora- 
tion of the living Aton," where the cattle dance with de- 
light in the sunshine, and the fish in the river beyond leap 
up to greet the light, the universal light whose beams are 
even "in the midst of the great green sea" — all this dis- 
closes a discernment of the presence of God in nature, and 
an appreciation of the revelation of God in the visible 
world such as we find a thousand years later in the Hebrew 
psalms, and in our own poets of nature since Wordsworth. 

It is evident that, in spite of the political origin of this 
movement, the deepest sources of power in this remark- 
able revolution lay in this appeal to nature, in this ad- 
monition to "consider the lilies of the field." Ikhnaton 
was a "God-intoxicated man," whose mind responded 
with marvellous sensitiveness and discernment to the visi- 
ble evidences of God about him. He was fairly ecstatic 
in his sense of the beauty of the eternal and universal 
light. Its beams enfold him on every monument of his 
which has survived. He prays, "May my eyes be satis- 
fied daily with beholding him, when he dawns in this 
house of Aton and fills it with his own self by his beams, 
beauteous in love, and lays them upon me in satisfying 


life for ever and ever." In this light— which more than 
once, as here, he identifies with love, or again with beauty, 
as the visible evidence of the presence of God — he revels 
with an intoxication rarely to be found, and which may 
be properly compared to the ecstatic joy felt by such a 
soul as Ruskin in the contemplation of light. Ruskin, as 
he sees it playing over some lovely landscape, calls it 
"the breathing, animated, exulting light, which feels and 
receives and rejoices and acts — which chooses one thing 
and rejects another — which seeks and finds and loses 
again — leaping from rock to rock, from leaf to leaf, from 
wave to wave, glowing or flashing or scintillating accord- 
ing to what it strikes, or in its holier moods absorbing and 
enfolding all things in the deep fulness of its repose, and 
then again losing itself in bewilderment and doubt and 
dimness, or perishing and passing away, entangled in 
drifting mist, or melted into melancholy air, but still — 
kindling or declining, sparkling or still — it is the living 
light, which breathes in its deepest, most entranced rest, 
which sleeps but never dies." * That is the loftiest 
modern interpretation of light, a veritable gospel of the 
beauty of light, of which the earliest disciple was this 
lonely idealist of the fourteenth century before Christ. 
To Ikhnaton, too, the eternal light might sleep, when he 
that made the world has "gone to rest in his horizon," 
but to him also as with Ruskin it "sleeps but never dies." 
In this aspect of Ikhnaton's movement, then, it is a 
gospel of the beauty and beneficence of the natural order, 
a recognition of the message of nature to the soul of man, 
which makes it the earliest of those revivals which we call 
in the case of such artists as Millet and the Barbizon 
school, or of Wordsworth and his successors, "a return to 
1 Ruskin, Modern Painters, vol. I, p. 250. 


nature." As the earliest of such movements known to 
us, however, we cannot call it a "return." We should 
not forget also that this intellectual attitude of the king 
was not confined to religion. The breath of nature had 
also touched life and art at the same time, and quickened 
them with a new vision as broad and untrammelled as that 
which is unfolded in the hymns. The king's charmingly 
natural and unrestrained relations with his family, de- 
picted on public monuments without reserve, is another 
example of his powerful individuality and his readiness to 
throw off the shackles of tradition without hesitation in 
the endeavor to establish a world of things as they are, 
in wholesome naturalness. The artists of the time, one 
of them indeed, as he says, under the king's own instruc- 
tions, put forth works dominated by the same spirit. 
Especially do they reflect to us that joy in nature which 
breathes in the religion of Ikhnaton. We have come to 
speak habitually of an Amarna age, in religion, in life, in 
art, and this fact of itself is conclusive evidence of the 
distinctive intellectual attitude of Ikhnaton. 

It is remarkable that the hymns as an expression of 
religious aspiration contain so little reference to character 
and to ethical matters. We have seen that the Solar the- 
ology was closely identified from the beginning with the 
development of the moral consciousness in Egypt. Recog- 
nizing as it does more clearly than ever was done before 
the beneficent goodness of the Sun-god's sway, it is in- 
conceivable that the Amarna movement should have re- 
jected the highly developed ethics of Heliopolis. Its 
close connection with the Heliopolitan theology is evident 
throughout. The identification of the royal line with 
that of the Sun-god by the Heliopolitan priests in the 
Pyramid Age had resulted, as we have seen, in transferring 


to Re the humane qualities of beneficent dominion with 
which the Pharaohs of the Feudal Age were imbued. 
The Pharaoh was the "good shepherd" or "good herd- 
man," and this figure of the paternal and protecting 
sovereign had been transferred to Re. Re had thus 
gained wondrously in qualities of humane and paternal 
sympathy, as a result of this development in the concep- 
tion of the kingship in the Feudal Age. The social forces 
which had contributed this high ideal of kingship were 
thus the ultimate influences, which, through the kingship, 
enriched and humanized the otherwise rather mechanical 
and perfunctory political conception of Re's dominion. 
The human appeal which he now made was thus akin to 
that of Osiris himself. This tendency of the Solar faith 
was entirely in sympathy with the teaching of Ikhnaton. 
Under his father we have found a Sun-hymn calling the 
Sun-god "the valiant herdman driving his herds," a hint 
clearly connecting the Aton faith with the social and 
moral movement of the Feudal Age, which we have just 
recalled. Nevertheless it is evident that it was the benefi- 
cence and beauty rather than the righteousness of the 
Sun-god, on which Ikhnaton loved to dwell, in the hymns 
to his god. Outside of the hymns, however, there is a 
marked prominence of the ancient word "truth," or, as 
we have observed so often, "justice" or "righteousness." 
To the official name of the king, there is regularly appended 
the epithet, "living in truth," x and although it is difficult 

1 It is difficult to define the exact meaning of this phrase. The 
Sun-god was the father of the goddess who personified Truth, and 
his close connection with truth is evident throughout. In the sixty- 
fifth chapter of the Book of the Dead, he lives "in truth" or "on 
truth," using the same words applied to Ikhnaton. But the passage 
exhibits a very materialistic conception of truth, for the Sun-god 
lives " on truth" as the Nile lives "on fish." (See Grapow, Zeitschr. 


to interpret the phrase exactly, it is evident that the con- 
ception of Truth and Right, personified as a goddess, the 
daughter of the Sun-god at a remote age, occupied a 
prominent place in the Aton movement, and not least in 
the personal faith of the king. The new capital was 
called the "seat of truth" in the short hymn, and we fre- 
quently find the men of Ikhnaton's court glorifying truth. 
One of his leading partisans, Eye, says: "He (the king) 
put truth in my body and my abomination is lying. I 
know that Wanre (Ikhnaton) rejoices in it (truth)." 1 
The same man affirms that the Sun-god is one " (whose) 
heart is satisfied with truth, whose abomination is false- 
hood." 2 Another official states in his Amarna tomb: "I 
will speak truth to his majesty, (for) I know that he lives 
therein. ... I do not that which his majesty hates, (for) 
my abomination is lying in my body. ... I have reported 
truth to his majesty, (for) I know that he lives therein. 
Thou art Re, begetter of truth. . . . I took not the reward 
of lying, nor expelled the truth for the violent." 3 Re was 
still the author of truth or righteousness at Amarna as 
before, and if we hear of no judgment hereafter in the 
Amarna tombs, it was clearly only the rejection of the 
cloud of gods and demi-gods, with Osiris at their head, 
who had been involved in the judgment as we find it in 
the Book of the Dead. These were now banished, and 
the dramatic scene of the judgment seems to have dis- 
appeared with them, although it is clear that the ethical 
requirements of the Solar faith, the faith in which they 
emerged and developed, were not relaxed in Ikhnaton's 

fiir aegypt. Sprache, 49, 51.) The chapter is a magical charm to 
force the Sun-god to justify the deceased. It was doubtless such 
materialistic notions of ethical concepts which led the priests to 
employ magic in the realm of ethics and ethical values. 
i BAR, II, 993, 1002. 2 BAR, II, 994. 3 BAR, II, 1013. 


teaching. The sacerdotal invasion of the moral realm 
with mechanical magical agencies for insuring justifica- 
tion was also evidently repelled by Ikhnaton. The famil- 
iar heart scarab now no longer bears a charm to still the 
accusing voice of conscience, but a simple prayer, in the 
name of Aton, for long life, favor, and food. 1 

Such fundamental changes as these, on a moment's 
reflection, suggest what an overwhelming tide of inherited 
thought, custom, and tradition had been diverted from 
its channel by the young king who was guiding this revolu- 
tion. It is only as this aspect of his movement is clearly 
discerned that we begin to appreciate the power of his 
remarkable personality. Before his time religious docu- 
ments were usually attributed to ancient kings and wise 
men, and the power of a belief lay chiefly in its claim to 
remote antiquity and the sanctity of immemorial custom. 
Even the social prophets of the Feudal Age attribute the 
maxims of Ptahhotep to a vizier of the Old Kingdom, 
five or six centuries earlier. Until Ikhnaton the history 
of the world had been but the irresistible drift of tradition. 
All men had been but drops of water in the great current. 
Ikhnaton was the first individual in history. Consciously 
and deliberately, by intellectual process he gained his posi- 
tion, and then placed himself squarely in the face of tradi- 
tion and swept it aside. He appeals to no myths, to no 
ancient and widely accepted versions of the dominion of 
the gods, to no customs sanctified by centuries — he ap- 
peals only to the present and visible evidences of his 
god's dominion, evidences open to all, and as for tradition, 
wherever it had left material manifestations of any sort 
in records which could be reached, he endeavored to an- 

J See Schaefer, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 48, 45/., and Pro- 
ceedings of the Soc. of Biblical Arch., XVII, 155, No. 3. 


nihilate it. The new faith has but one name at Amarna. 
It is frequently called the "teaching," and this "teaching" 
is attributed solely to the king. There is no reason to 
question this attribution. But we should realize what 
this "teaching" meant in the life of the Egyptian people 
as a whole. 

Here had been a great people, the onward flow of whose 
life, in spite of its almost irresistible momentum, had been 
suddenly arrested and then diverted into a strange 
channel. Their holy places had been desecrated, the 
shrines sacred with the memories of thousands of years 
had been closed up, the priests driven away, the offerings 
and temple incomes confiscated, and the old order blotted 
out. Everywhere whole communities, moved by in- 
stincts flowing from untold centuries of habit and custom, 
returned to their holy places to find them no more, and 
stood dumfounded before the closed doors of the ancient 
sanctuaries. On feast days, sanctified by memories of 
earliest childhood, venerable halls that had resounded 
with the rejoicings of the multitudes, as we have recalled 
them at Siut, now stood silent and empty; and every day 
as the funeral processions wound across the desert margin 
and up the plateau to the cemetery, the great comforter 
and friend, Osiris, the champion of the dead in every 
danger, was banished, and no man dared so much as utter 
his name. 1 Even in their oaths, absorbed from childhood 
with their mothers' milk, the involuntary names must not 

1 In mortuary doctrines this Amarna movement was unable 
wholly to eradicate the old customs. The heart scarab is mentioned 
above; "ushcbti" statuettes were also known. There is one in 
Zurich, see Wiedemann, Proceed, of the Soc. of Bib. Arch., VII, 
200-3; also one in Cairo, see Maspero, Musee egyptien, III, 
pi. xxiii, pp. 27-28. They contain prayers for sustenance at the 
tomb, in the name of Aton. Osiris is not named. 


be suffered to escape the lips; and in the presence of the 
magistrate at court the ancient oath* must now contain 
only the name of Aton. All this to them was as if the 
modern man were asked to worship X and swear by Y. 
Groups of muttering priests, nursing implacable hatred, 
must have mingled their curses with the execration of 
whole communities of discontented tradesmen — bakers 
who no longer drew a livelihood from the sale of cere- 
monial cakes at the temple feasts; craftsmen who no longer 
sold amulets of the old gods at the temple gateway; hack 
sculptors whose statues of Osiris lay under piles of dust 
in many a tumble-down studio; cemetery stone-cutters 
who found their tawdry tombstones with scenes from the 
Book of the Dead banished from the cemetery; scribes 
whose rolls of the same book, filled with the names of 
the old gods, or even if they bore the word god in the 
plural, were anathema; actors and priestly mimes who 
were driven away from the sacred groves by gendarmes 
on the days when they should have presented to the 
people the "passion play," and murmuring groups of 
pilgrims at Abydos who would have taken part in this 
drama of the life and death and resurrection of Osiris; 
physicians deprived of their whole stock in trade of exor- 
cising ceremonies, employed with success since the days 
of the earliest kings, two thousand years before; shep- 
herds who no longer dared to place a loaf and a jar of 
water under yonder tree and thus to escape the anger of 
the goddess who dwelt in it, and who might afflict the 
household with sickness in her wrath; peasants who 
feared to erect a rude image of Osiris in the field to drive 
away the typhonic demons of drought and famine; 
mothers soothing their babes at twilight and fearing to 
utter the old sacred names and prayers learned in child- 


hood, to drive away from their little ones the lurking 
demons of the dark. In the midst of a whole land thus 
darkened by clouds of smouldering discontent, this mar- 
vellous young king, and the group of sympathizers who 
surrounded him, set up their tabernacle to the daily light, 
in serene unconsciousness of the fatal darkness that en- 
veloped all around and grew daily darker and more 

In placing the movement of Ikhnaton against a back- 
ground of popular discontent like this, and adding to the 
picture also the far more immediately dangerous secret 
opposition of the ancient priesthoods, the still uncon- 
quered party of Amon, and the powerful military group, 
who were disaffected by the king's peace policy in Asia 
and his lack of interest in imperial administration and 
maintenance, we begin to discern something of the power- 
ful individuality of this first intellectual leader in history. 
His reign was the earliest age of the rule of ideas, irre- 
spective of the condition and willingness of the people 
upon whom they were to be forced. As Matthew Arnold 
has so well said, in commenting on the French Revolu- 
tion: "But the mania for giving an immediate political 
application to all these fine ideas of the reason was fatal. 
. . . Ideas cannot be too much prized in and for them- 
selves, cannot be too much lived with; but to transfer 
them abruptly into the world of politics and practice, 
violently to revolutionize the world at their bidding — 
that is quite another thing." But Ikhnaton had no 
French Revolution to look back upon. He was himself 
the world's first revolutionist, and he was fully convinced 
that he might entirely recast the world of religion, thought, 
art, and life by the invincible purpose he held, to make 
his ideas at once practically effective. And so the fair 


city of the Amarna plain arose, a fatuous island of the blest 
in a sea of discontent, a vision of fond hopes, born in a 
mind fatally forgetful that the past cannot be annihilated. 
The marvel is that such a man should have first arisen in 
the East, and especially in Egypt, where no man except 
Ikhnaton possessed the ability to forget. Nor was the 
great Mediterranean world which Egypt now dominated 
any better prepared for an international religion than its 
Egyptian lords. The imperial imagination of Ikhnaton re- 
minds one of that of Alexander the Great, a thousand years 
later, but it was many centuries in advance of his age. 

We cannot wonder that when the storm broke it swept 
away almost all traces of this earliest idealist. All that 
we have to tell us of him is the wreck of his city, a lonely 
outpost of idealism, not to be overtaken and passed till 
six centuries later those Bedouin hordes who were now 
drifting into Ikhnaton's Palestinian provinces had coa- 
lesced into a nation of social, moral, and religious aspira- 
tions, and had thus brought forth the Hebrew prophets. 



The fall of Ikhnaton is shrouded in complete obscurity. 
The ultimate result was the restoration of Amon by 
Tutenkhamon, one of Ikhnaton's feeble successors. The 
old regime returned. Tutenkhamon's account of his res- 
toration of the gods is an interesting revelation of the 
religious and intellectual attitude of the leading men of 
affairs when Ikhnaton had passed away. The new king 
refers to himself as "the good ruler, who did excellent 
things for the father of all gods (Amon), who restored for 
him that which was in ruin as everlasting monuments; 
cast out for him sin in the Two Lands (Egypt), so that 
righteousness endured . . .; and made lying to be the 
abomination of the land, as in the beginning. For when 
his majesty was crowned as king, the temples of the gods 
and goddesses were [desolat]ed from Elephantine as far as 
the marshes of the Delta l . . . (hammered out). Their 
holy places were ^forsaken 1 and had become overgrown 
tracts, . . . their sanctuaries were like that which has 
never been, and their houses were trodden roads. The 
land was in an evil pass, and as for the gods, they had for- 
saken this land. If people were sent to Syria to extend 

1 "Marshes of the Delta" (h'wt ydhw) is not in the published edi- 
tion of the text, but close study of a large-scale photograph shows 
that it is still discernible, though with great difficulty, on the stone. 



the borders of Egypt, they prospered not at all; if men 
prayed to a god for succor, he came not; ... if men be- 
sought a goddess likewise, she came not at all. Their 
hearts were ^deaf in their bodies, and they diminished 
what was done. Now, after days had passed by these 
things, [his majesty] appeared upon the throne of his 
father, he ruled the regions of Horus. . . . His majesty 
was making the plans of this land and the needs of the 
two regions were before his majesty, as he took counsel 
with his own heart, seeking every excellent matter and 
searching for profitable things for his father Amon, 
fashioning his august emanation of pure gold, and giving 
to him more than was done before." 1 

Thus was the memory of the great idealist execrated. 
When in a state document it was necessary to refer to 
him, he was called "the criminal of Akhetaton." The re- 
established priesthood of Amon rejoiced in the restoration 
of their power, especially when the ephemeral successors 
of Ikhnaton were followed by the able rule of Harmhab, 
a military leader who had contrived gradually to secure 
control of the situation. A hymn to Amon from this 
period reveals the exultant triumph of his devotees as 
they sing to him: 

"Thou findest him who transgresses against thee; 
Woe to him who assails thee! 
Thy city endures; 

1 These new and interesting facts are drawn from a large stela of 
Tutenkhamon found by Legrain in the Karnak temple in 1905, 
and published by him in Recueil de trav., XXIX, 162-173. I am 
indebted to M. Legrain for kind permission to make a series of 
large-scale photographs of the monument, on which it is possible to 
read the important northern limits of the persecution of the gods by 
Ikhnaton, not before noted. The stela was usurped by Harmhab, 
who inserted his name over that of Ikhnatonrrv 


But he who assails thee falls. 

Fie upon him who transgresses against thee in every land. 

The sun of him who knows thee not goes down, O Amon! 

But as for him who knows thee, he shines. 

The forecourt of him who assailed thee is in darkness, 

But the whole earth is in light. 

Whosoever puts thee in his heart, O Amon, 

Lo, his sun dawns." * 

This very hymn, however, betrays its connection with 
the old Solar faith and the paternal interpretation of Re, 
as it goes on to the praise of Amon as the " good shepherd " 
and the " pilot," ideas which, we recall, arose in the social 
movement of the Feudal Age. Indeed, notwithstanding 
the restoration of Amon, the ideas and the tendencies 
which had given birth to the revolution of Ikhnaton were 
far from disappearing. It was not possible to carry them 
on, under a monotheistic form, involving the annihilation 
of the old gods; but the human and beneficent aspects of 
Aton, in his care for all men, had taken hold upon the 
imagination of the thinking classes, and we find the same 
qualities now attributed to Amon. Men sang of him: 

"Lord of truth, father of gods, 
Maker of men and creator of animals, 
Lord of that which is, 
Creator of the tree of life, 
Maker of herbs, sustaining the cattle alive/' a 

The hymn from which these lines are quoted does not 
hesitate to call the god thus praised Re or Atum, showing 

1 Ostrakon 5656 a in the British Museum, published in Birch, 
Inscriptions in the Hieratic Character, pi. xxvi. The historical con- 
nection of the passages cited was first noted in a brilliant interpreta- 
tion by Erman, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 42, 106 ff. 

2 Great Hymn to Amon, Cairo Papyrus, No. 17 (Mariette, II, 
pis. 11-13). 


that the Aton movement had left the traditional prestige 
of the Heliopolitan Re unblemished. Another passage 
contains evident echoes of the Aton faith: 

"Hail to thee! Re, lord of Truth, 
Whose sanctuary is hidden, lord of gods, 
Khepri in the midst of his barque, 
Who commanded and the gods became; 
Atum, who made the people, 
Who determined the fashion of them, 
Maker of their sustenance, 

Who distinguished one color (race) from another; 
Who hears the prayer of him who is in captivity, 
Who is kindly of heart when one calls upon him, 
Who saves the timid from the haughty, 
Who separates the weak from the 'strong 1 , 
Lord of Knowledge, '"in 1 whose mouth is Taste; 
For love of whom the Nile comes, 
Lord of sweetness, great in love, 
At whose coming the people live." 

Even the old monotheistic phrases have here and there 
survived, and this hymn employs them without compunc- 
tion, though constantly referring to the gods. It says: 

"Sole likeness 1 , maker of what is, 
Sole and only one, maker of what exists. 
From whose eyes men issued, 
From whose mouth the gods came forth, 
Maker of herbs for the cattle, 
And the tree of life for mankind, 
Who maketh the sustenance of the fish [in] the stream, 
And the birds that traverse 1 the sky, 
Who giveth breath to that which is in the egg, 
And maketh to live the son of the worm, 
Who maketh that on which the gnats live, 
The worms and the insects likewise, 
Who supplieth the needs of the mice in their holes, 
Who sustaineth alive the ^irds 1 in every tree. 


Hail to thee, who hast made all these, 

Thou sole and only one, with many arms, 

Thou sleeper waking while all men sleep, 

Seeking good things for his cattle. 

Amon, enduring in all things, 


Praise to thee in all that they say, 

Jubilation to thee, for r thy tarrying with us 1 , 

Obeisance to thee, who didst create us, 

'Hail to thee,' say all cattle; 

'Jubilation to thee,' says every country, 

To the height of heaven, to the breadth of earth, 

To the depths of the sea." 

A hymn to Osiris of the same age says to him: "Thou 
art the father and the mother of men, they live from thy 
breath." 1 There is a spirit of humane solicitude in all 
this, which, as we have seen, appeared as early as the 
social teaching of the Feudal Age. Especially the pref- 
erence for the "timid" as over against the "haughty" 
and overbearing, and the discerning "taste" and "knowl- 
edge," which are the royal and divine prerogatives, we 
have already discovered in social tractates like Ipuwer, 
and even in a state document like the Installation of the 
Vizier in the Twelfth Dynasty. That God is the father 
and mother of his creatures was, of course, a doctrine of 
the Aton faith. Such hymns also still preserve the uni- 
versalism, the disregard for national lines, which was so 
prominent in the teaching of Ikhnaton. As we look 
further into the simpler and less ecclesiastical professions 
of the thirteenth and twelfth centuries before Christ, the 
two centuries after Ikhnaton, the confidence of the wor- 
shipper in the solicitude of the Sun-god for all, even the 
least of his creatures, has developed into a devotional 

1 Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 38, 31. 


spirit, and a consciousness of personal relation with the 
god, which was already discernible in Ikhnaton's declara- 
tion to his god: "Thou art in my heart." The surviving 
influence of the Aton faith and the doctrines of social jus- 
tice of the Feudal Age now culminated, therefore, in the 
profoundest expression or revelation of the devotional re- 
ligious spirit ever attained by the men of Egypt. Further- 
more, although rooted in the teaching of an exclusive few 
heretofore, these beliefs in an intimate and personal rela- 
tion between the worshipper and his god had now, with 
the lapse of centuries and by slow and gradual process, 
become widespread among the people. An age of personal 
piety and inner aspiration to God now dawned among the 
masses. It is a notable development and, like so many 
of the movements which we have followed in these lect- 
ures, the earliest of its kind as yet discernible in the 
history of the East, or for that matter in the history of 
man. We are able to follow it only at Thebes, and it is 
not a little interesting to be able to look into the souls of 
the common folk who thronged the streets and markets, 
who tilled the fields and maintained the industries, who 
kept the accounts and carried on the official records, the 
hewers of wood and the drawers of water, the men and 
women upon whose shoulders rested the great burden of 
material life in the vast capital of the Egyptian Empire 
during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries before Christ. 
A scribe in one of the treasury magazines of the Theban 
necropolis prays to Amon, as to him 

"Who cometh to the silent, 
Who saveth the poor, 
Who giveth breath to every one he loveth, 

Give to me [thy] hand, 


Save me, 

Shine upon me, 

For thou makest my sustenance. 

Thou art the sole god, there is no other, 

Even Re, who dawneth in the sky, 

Atum maker of men, 

Who heareth the prayers of him who calls to him, 

Who saveth a man from the haughty, 

Who bringeth the Nile for him who is among them, 

Who leadeth — for all men, 

When he riseth, the people live, 

Their hearts live when they see him 

Who giveth breath to him who is the egg, 

Who maketh the people and the birds to live, 

Who supplieth the needs of the mice in their holes, 

The worms and the insects likewise." 1 

To a god, the least of whose creatures are the object of 
his care, these men of Thebes might bring their misfortunes 
and their daily cares, confident in his kindness and be- 
neficence. A painter of tomb scenes in the necropolis 
erected a stela in one of the necropolis sanctuaries, telling 
how Amon, in gracious mercy, had saved his son from 
sickness. 2 Amon is to him the "august god, who heareth 
petitions, who cometh at the cry of the afflicted poor, and 
giveth breath to him who is bowed down," and the story 
of Amon's goodness he tells thus: 

"Praise to Amon! 
I make hymns in his name, 
I give to him praise, 
To the height of heaven, 

1 Berlin Statuette, No. 6910. 

2 Berlin, No. 23077, published by Erman, Sitzungsber. der KgJ. 
Preuss. Akad., 1911, XLIX, pp. 1087 ff. Erman first called atten- 
tion to the character of this group of necropolis votive stelse in an 
essay, Denksteine aus dem thebanischen Grdberstadt, ibid., pp. 1086 .If. 


And iie breadth of earth; 

I tell of his prowess 

To him who sails down-stream, 

And to him who sails up-stream. 

"Beware of him! 
Repeat it to son and daughter, 
To great and small, 
Tell it to generation after generation, 
Who are not yet born. 
Tell it to the fishes in the stream, 
To the birds in the sky, 
Repeat it to him who knoweth it not 
And to him who knoweth it. 
Beware of him. 

"Thou, O Amon, art the lord of the silent, 
Who cometh at the cry of the poor. 
When I cry to thee in my affliction, 
Then thou comest and savest me. 

That thou mayest give breath to him who is bowed down, 
And mayest save me lying in bondage. 1 
Thou, Amon-Re, Lord of Thebes, art he, 
Who saveth him that is in the Nether World, 

When men cry unto thee, 

Thou art he that cometh from afar." 

"Nebre, painter of Amon in the necropolis, son of Pai, 
painter of Amon in the necropolis, made this in the name 
of his lord, Amon, Lord of Thebes, who cometh at the 
cry of the poor; making for him praises in his name, be- 
cause of the greatness of his might, and making for him 
prayers before him and before the whole land, on behalf 
of the painter Nakht-Amon, 2 when he lay sick unto death, 
being r in^ the power of Amon, because of his sin." 

1 So Erman. 2 The son of Neb-Re, whose life Amon saves. 


" I found that the lord of gods came as the north wind, 
while fragrant air was before him, that he might save the 
painter Nakht-Amon, son of the painter of Amon in the 
necropolis, Nebre, born of the housewife, Peshed." 

"He saith, 'Though the servant be wont to commit 
sin, yet is the lord wont to be gracious. The lord of 
Thebes spends not the whole day wroth. If he be wroth 
for the space of a moment, it remaineth not . . . turns 
to us in graciousness, Amon turns 'with 1 his breath."' l 

"By thy ka, thou wilt be gracious, and that which is 
turned away will not be repeated.'' 

"He saith, 'I will make this stela in thy name, and I 
will record this hymn in writing upon it, if thou wilt save 
for me the painter Nakht-Amon.' Thus I spake to thee, 
and thou hearkenedst to me. Now behold I do that 
which I said. Thou art the lord of the one who calls upon 
him, who is satisfied with righteousness, the lord of 

"Made by the painter, Nebre and [his] son Khai." 

Similarly in a year of unseasonable weather and result- 
ing distress a man prays: "Come to me, O Amon, save 
me in this year of distress. As for the sun, when it hap- 
pens that he shines not, then winter comes in summer- 
time, the months are 'retarded 1 and the days are belated. 
The great cry out to thee, O Amon, and the small seek 
after thee. Those who are in the arms of their nurses say, 
' Give us breath, Amon.' Then is Amon found coming 
in peace with the sweet air before him. He transforms 
me into a vulture-wing, like a barque manned, 'saying 1 , 
'Strength to the shepherds in the field, the washers on 
the dike, the 'guards 1 who come forth from the district, 
the gazelles in the desert." 

1 So Erman. 


"Thou findest that Amon doeth according to thy desire, 
in his hour of peace, and thou art praised in the midst of 
the officials and established in the place of truth. Amon- 
Re, thy great Nile ascendeth the mountains, thou lord of 
fish, rich in birds; and all the poor are satiated." 1 

The Sun-god, or his supplanter, Amon, has thus be- 
come the champion of the distressed, "Who heareth the 
petition, who heareth the prayers of him who crieth out 
to him, who cometh at the voice of him who mentions 
his name," 2 "the loving god who heareth prayers, [who 
giveth the hand] to the poor, who saveth the weary." 3 
So the injured mother, neglected by her son, "raises her 
arms to the god, and he hears her cry." 4 The social jus- 
tice which arose in the Middle Kingdom is now a claim 
which every poor man pleads before the god, who has him- 
self become a " just judge, not accepting a bribe, uplifting 
the insignificant, [protecting] the poor, not extending thy 
hand to the rich." 5 And so the poor man prays: "O 
Amon, lend thine ear to him who stands alone in the 
court (of justice), who is poor while his [opponent] is rich. 
The court oppresses him (saying), ' Silver and gold for 
the scribes! Clothing for the servants!' But Amon 
transforms himself into the vizier, that he may cause the 
poor man to triumph; the poor man is just and the poor 
man •overcomes 1 the rich. Pilot [in] front who knoweth 
the water, Amon, thou Rudder, . . . who giveth bread 
to him who has none, and preserveth alive the servant of 
his house." 6 For the god is now that "Amon-Re who 
first became king, O god of the beginning, thou vizier of 
the poor man, not taking the corrupt reward, not saying, 

1 Papyrus Anastasi, IV, 10, 1-7. 2 Erman, ibid., 1107. 

3 Ibid., 1108. 4 Maximes d'Ani, 7, 3. 

6 Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 38, 24. 
6 Papyrus Anastasi, II, 8, 5-9, 3. 


1 Bring witnesses;' Amon-Re who judgeth the'earth with 
his finger, whose words are before the heart. He assigneth 
him that sinneth against him to the fire, and the just [to] 
the West." l Rich and poor alike may suffer the dis- 
pleasure of the god aroused by sin. An oath taken 
lightly or falsely calls down the wrath of the god, and he 
smites the transgressor with sickness or blindness, from 
which relief may be obtained as we have seen, if repent- 
ance follows and the offender humbly seeks the favor of 
his god. 2 Now for the first time conscience is fully eman- 
cipated. The sinner pleads his ignorance and proneness 
to err. "Thou sole and only one, thou Harakhte who 
hath none other like him, protector of millions, savior of 
hundred-thousands, who shieldeth him that calleth upon 
him, thou lord of Heliopolis; punish, me not for my many 
sins. I am one ignorant of his own body, I am a man 
without understanding. All day I follow after my own 
dictates as the ox after his fodder." 3 This is in striking 
contrast with the Book of the Dead, in which the soul 
admits no sin and claims entire innocence. But now in 
this posture of unworthiness and humility there is inner 
communion with God night and day. " Come to me, O 
Re-Harakhte, that thou may est guide me; for thou art 
he that doeth, and none doeth without thee, but thou art 
he who doeth it. Come to me, Atum, thou art the august 
god. My heart goes out to Heliopolis. . . . My heart 
rejoiceth and my bosom is glad. My petitions are heard, 
even my daily prayers, and my hymns by night. My 
supplications shall flourish in my mouth, for they are 
heard this day." 4 

1 Papyrus Anastasi, II, 6, 5-7. 

2 Erman, ibid., 1102-3, 1104, 1098-1110, 1101-2, 1107. 
\_ 8 _Paj?yrus Ar^stRsj, H j io, 5-1 1 ; 2. 
4 Ibid., II, 10, 1-10, 5. 


In the old hymns, made up of objective descriptions, 
quotations from the myths, and allusions to mythical in- 
cidents, all matters entirely external to the life of the wor- 
shipper, every man might pray the same prayer; but now 
prayer becomes a revelation of inner personal experience, 
an expression of individual communion with God. It is a 
communion in which the worshipper discerns in his god 
one nourishing the soul as a shepherd feeds his flock. 
"O Amon, thou herdman bringing forth the herds in the 
morning, leading the suffering to pasture; as the herd- 
man leads the herds [to] pasture, so dost thou, O Amon, 
lead the suffering to food, for Amon is a herdman, herding 
him that leans upon him. ... Amon-Re, I love thee 
and I have filled my heart with thee. . . . Thou wilt 
rescue me out of the mouth of men in the day when they 
speak lies; for the Lord of Truth, he liveth in truth. I 
will not follow the anxiety in my heart, (for) that which 
Amon hath said flourisheth.' , l There are, to be sure, ex- 
ternal and material means which will further this spiritual 
relation with the god. The wise man sagely admonishes 
to" celebrate the feast of thy god, repeat his seasons; the 
god is wroth [with] him who transgresses [against] him." 2 
Nevertheless, even in the opinion of the sages, who are 
wont to compromise with traditional customs, the most 
effective means of gaining the favor of God is contempla- 
tive silence and inner communion. "Be not of many 
words, for in silence shalt thou gain good. ... As for 
the precinct of God, his abomination is crying out; pray 
thou with a desiring heart whose every word is hidden, 

1 Inscriptions in the Hieratic Character, XXVI, British Museum 
Ostrakon, No. 5656 a, 11. 6-7, 14-15, verso 11. 1-3 (after a collation 
by Erman. Cf. Zeitschr. fiir aegypt. Sprache, 42, 106). 

2 Maximes d'Ani, 2, 3-5. 


and he will supply thy need, and hear thy speech and re- 
ceive thy offering." l It is in such an attitude as this 
that the worshipper may turn to his God as to a fountain 
of spiritual refreshment, saying, "Thou sweet Well for 
him that thirsteth in the desert; it is closed to him who 
speaks, but it is open to him who is silent. When he who 
is silent comes, lo, he finds the well." 2 This attitude of 
silent communion, waiting upon the gracious goodness of 
God, was not confined to the select few, nor to the edu- 
cated priestly communities. On the humblest monu- 
ments of the common people Amon is called the god 
"who cometh to the silent," or the "lord of the silent," 
as we have already observed. 3 It is in this final develop- 
ment of devotional feeling, crowning the religious and 
intellectual revolution of Ikhnaton, and also forming the 
culmination of the doctrines of social justice emerging in 
the Feudal Age, that the religion of Egypt reached its 
noblest and most exalted period. The materials for the 
age of the decadence which followed are too scanty to 
reveal clearly the causes of the stagnation which now 
ensued, a decline from which the religious life of Egypt 
never recovered. 

In morals and in the attitude toward life the sages 
continued to maintain a spirit of wholesome regard for 
the highest practical ideals, an attitude in which we dis- 
cern a distinct advance upon the teachings of the fathers. 
Reputation was strictly to be guarded. "Let every place 
which thou lovest be known," says the sage; 4 and drunk- 
enness and dissolute living are exhibited in all their dis- 
astrous consequences for the young. To the young man 
the dangers of immorality are bared with naked frank- 

1 Ibid., 3, 1-4. 2 Papyrus Sallier, I, 8, 2-3. 

3 See above, pp. 349, 351. 4 Maximes d'Ani, 3, 12. 


ness. "Guard thee from the woman from abroad, who 
is not known in her city; look not on her, . . . know her 
not in the flesh; (for she is) a flood great and deep, whose 
whirling no man knows. The woman whose husband is 
far away, 'I am beautiful,' says she to thee every day. 
When she has no witnesses, she stands and ensnares thee. 
O great crime worthy of death when one hearkens, even 
when it be not known abroad. (For) a man takes up 
every sin [after] this one" l As for the good things of 
life, they are to be regarded with philosophical reserve. 
It is foolish to count upon inherited wealth as a source of 
happiness. "Say not, 'My maternal grandfather has a 
house on the estate of So and So.' Then when thou 
comest to the division (by will) with thy brother, thy 
portion is (only) a storage-shed." 2 In such things indeed 
there is no stability. "So it is forever, men are naught. 
One is rich, another is poor. ... He who was rich last 
year, he is a vagrant this year. . . . The watercourse of 
last year, it is another place this year. Great seas be- 
come dry places, and shores become deeps." 3 We have 
here that Oriental resignation to the contrasts in life 
which seems to have developed among all the peoples of 
the early East. 4 

The speculations of the thinking class, especially those 
which we have found in intimations of pantheism as far 
back as the Pyramid Age, had also now gained currency 
among the common people, although of course in the con- 
crete form in which such reflections always find expression 
in the East. A picturesque tale of the twelfth century 

« Ibid., 2, 13-17. 2 Ibid., 5, 7-8. 3 Ibid., 7, 8-9. 

4 See, for example, the song of Sindebad the porter in the court of 
the rich man's house. Algiers edition of Sindebad the Sailor, Arabic 
text, p. 4. 


B. C. expresses in graphic form the thought of the people 
concerning these complicated and elusive matters. It is 
now commonly known as the Tale of the Two Brothers. 1 
The two gods who appear as the chief characters in the 
tale are pictured in the naive imagination of the folk as 
two peasants, whose names, Anubis and Bata, have dis- 
closed them as gods of the town of Kasa, 2 who had a place 
in the religion of Egypt at an enormously remote date. 3 
Anubis, the elder brother, is married; Bata, the younger, 
lives with them almost as their son, when the idyllic 
round of picturesque rustic life is forever ended by an 
attempt on the part of the wife, enamoured of the younger 
brother, to establish improper relations with him. The 
youth indignantly refuses, exemplifying the current wisdom 
of the wise man as we have already met it. The incident 
later found place in the Hebrew tradition of Joseph in 
Egypt. Deceived by his wife into believing a perverted 
version of the affair foisted upon him by the false woman, 
Anubis lies in wait to slay his brother. Warned by his 
cattle, however, the youth flees, and his brother's pursuit 

1 Preserved in a papyrus of the British Museum called Papyrus 
D'Orbiney; published in Select Papyri . . . in the British Museum, 
London, 1860, part II, pis. ix-xix. It has been often translated. A 
good rendering by Griffith will be found in Petrie's Egyptian Tales, 
London, 1895, Second Series, pp. 36-65. 

2 See Gardiner, Proceedings of the Soc. of Bibl. Arch., XXVII, 
1905, p. 185, and Spiegelberg, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 44, 
pp. 98-99. 

3 Naville has called attention to the probable occurrence of Bata 
in the Pyramid Texts (Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 43, 77-83). 
Naville seems to have overlooked the fact that Bata occurs as 
early as Menes's time. Indeed he is to be found on a tablet of Menes 
published by Naville in the very article in question (p. 79, fig.'3); 
for the bird represented there perched on the building or sanctuary 
has before him a "t." The bird is to be read "BY' which with the 
"t" gives us the reading Bata. 


is cut off by the Sun-god, who places between them a 
torrent filled with crocodiles. Then Bata, calling upon 
the Sun-god "who distinguisheth between good and evil" 
to judge between them, reproaches his brother with his 
easy credulity as they converse across the stream and 
tells him that all is now over. As for the youth himself, 
he must depart to the "Valley of the Cedar," a place 
which must have been on the Phoenician coast, as there 
were no cedars in Egypt. There he will await the coming 
of Anubis to succor him, whenever Anubis observes com- 
motion in the jar of beer which he drinks. Anubis re- 
turns and slays his unfaithful wife, while the youth wanders 
on to the Valley of the Cedar. Maintaining himself there 
as a hunter, the Sun-god sends him a beautiful wife to 
solace his loneliness. Although she escapes the sea that 
would have carried her away, a stray lock of her perfumed 
hair wandering to Egypt betrays her to the Pharaoh, who 
searches for her far and wide, and, like Cinderella, she is 
at last brought to the palace. She at once prays the king 
to send emissaries to cut down the cedar with which the 
life of Bata, her husband, is mysteriously involved. When 
this is done, Bata falls dead, and his treacherous wife 
feels free to live in splendor at the court. Then Bata's 
brother, Anubis, observes a commotion in the beer he is 
drinking, and he sets out at once to search for Bata, whose 
body he soon finds in the "Valley of the Cedar." For 
three years he sought the cedar blossom in which was the 
soul of Bata, and wearying, he was about to return to 
Egypt, when in the fourth year, as he was walking by the 
cedar, he chanced upon it. Then he hastened to place it 
in a jar of water, and having given the water to Bata to 
drink, his dead brother revived, and they embraced each 
other and talked together. Bata now informs his brother 


that he must assume the form of a sacred bull, and going 
in this guise to the court, he will reckon with the faithless 
beauty whom the gods gave him. But the court beauty 
compasses the death of the bull, and from his blood which 
spatters the door-posts of the palace two beautiful persea- 
trees spring up, one on either side of the doorway. When 
the Pharaoh's favorite induces him to cut these down, a 
chip from one of them flies into her mouth, and as a result 
she bears a son, who proves to be Bata himself. The 
Pharaoh makes him heir to the throne, to which Bata 
finally succeeds, and after a long and happy reign is fol- 
lowed as king by his brother, the faithful Anubis. 

It is easy to discern in the imperishable life of Bata, as 
it emerges in one form after another, especially in the 
cedar and the persea-tree, a folk version of some of the 
Osiris incidents interwoven with the myth of the Sun-god. 
But it will be noticed that Bata is alternately the persea 
of Osiris and the bull of the Sun, who still remains, as he 
has been throughout its history, the great god of Egypt. 
"The god of this land is the Sun in the horizon, (while) 
his statues are on earth," says the sage; 1 but the other 
gods have now in the thought of the time completely 
coalesced with him. This Solar pantheism now took defi- 
nite form in the thought of the theologian, and we ulti- 
mately find an " Amon-Re-Wennofer (Osiris)" as king 
of Egypt, with his name inclosed in a cartouche like 
an earthly ruler. 2 Amon as Sun-god becomes the all- 
pervasive, life-giving air. "He emits air, refreshing the 
throat, in his name of 'Amon/ who abides (mn) in all 
things, the soul of Shu (god of the air) for all gods, the 
substance of life, who created the tree of life, . . . flood- 

1 Maximes d'Ani, 6, 16. 

8 Brugsch, Reise nach der grossen Oase, pi. xvii. 


ing the Two Lands (Egypt), without whom none liveth 
in Egypt." 1 As god of the universal air, "his voice is 
heard though he is not seen, refreshing every throat, 
strengthening the heart of the pregnant woman in travail, 
and the man-child born of her." 2 In the words of an 
old Sun-hymn of Aton times, the worshipper says, " Thou 
art he who fashions his body with his own hands in any 
form he desires;" 3 and Amon, "lord of Thebes shines in 
his forms, which are in every province," 4 indicating that 
the local gods of the provinces or nomes are but forms 
and names of Amon. The priests narrated too how this 
had come to pass. "Thou didst establish thy throne in 
every place thou lovest, in order that thy names might be 
many. Cities and nomes bear thy beauty, and there is no 
'region 1 without thy image." Then they told how in the 
beginning Amon had gone from one great sanctuary to the 
other, and how in each one he had established himself as 
the god of the place. At Heliopolis he had become Atum, 
at Memphis he had become Ptah, at Heracleopolis he had 
become Harsaphes. Not only are the gods but forms 
of Amon, Amon is in all, and he is all. "Thy form is the 
Nile, the first-born, older than the gods; thou art the 
great waters, and when they penetrate into the soil, thou 
makest it to live by thy flood. Thou art the sky, thou art 
the earth, thou art the Nether World, thou art the water, 
thou art the air that is between them. Men rejoice because 
of thee, (for) thou ceasest not 5 to care for all that is." 6 

1 Ibid., pi. xv, 11. 5-6. 2 Ibid., pi. xvi, 11. 38-39. 

3 Ibid., pi. xv, 11. 14-16. 4 Ibid., pi. xv, 11. 2-3. 

6 Text has "he ceaseth not." 

6 Ibid., pis. xxv-xxvi, 11. 22-41. All the above texts from Brugsch's 
Grosse Oase are from the temple of Hibeh in the oasis of el Khargeh, 
and date from the reign of Darius II, the last quarter of the fifth 
century B. C. 


Thus those pantheistic speculations which we found as 
far back as the Pyramid Age, after two thousand years of 
slow development have finally resulted in identifying the 
world with God. 

In form all the old faiths went on as before, maintain- 
ing all the old externals. This was especially true of 
mortuary practices, which developed under the Empire as 
never before. All men of whatever class, no matter how 
poor and needy, desired and received some mortuary 
equipment, when laid away in the grave, which might 
enable the departed to share in the blessed destiny of 
Osiris. The material equipment of the dead for eternity, 
in spite of the impressive demonstration of its futility 
furnished by the desolate pyramid cemeteries, had now 
become a vast industry which all classes of society called 
into requisition. The sages cautioned even the young to 
make ready their tombs. " Say not ' I am (too) young to 
be taken.' Thou knowest not thy death. Death comes 
and takes the child who is in his mother's arms, like the 
man who has reached old age." l "Adorn thy seat which 
is in the valley, the tomb which shall hide thy body. 
Put it before thee in thy affairs, which are made account 
of in thy eyes, like the very old whom thou layest to rest 
in the midst of their dwelling 1 . There is no blame to 
him who doeth it, it is good that thou be likewise equipped. 
When thy messenger comes r to take thee he shall find thee 
equipped 1 ." 2 Neither should a man forget those who 
already lie there: "Put water for thy father and thy 
mother who rest in the valley. . . . Thy son shall do 
likewise for thee." 3 

Under such influences as these grew up the vast cem- 
etery of Thebes, in which myriads of the common people 

1 Maximes d'Ani, 4, 2-4. 2 Ibid. } 3, 14-4, 2. z Ibid., 3, 4r-6. 


of a class who had never before enjoyed Osirian burial 
were now laid away. The great mass of material remains 
from such cemeteries, however, reveals only the popular- 
ization of tendencies and beliefs long before observable 
among the higher and the educated classes. It is rarely 
that such tendencies were more than mechanically and 
thoughtlessly followed by the common folk, and seldom 
do we find such important developments among them as 
those manifestations of personal piety among the poor, 
to which we have already given attention. 

With the decline of the Empire from the thirteenth cen- 
tury onward, the forces of life both within and without 
were exhausted and had lost their power to stimulate 
the religion of Egypt to any further vital development. 
Stagnation and a deadly and indifferent inertia fell like 
a stupor upon the once vigorous life of the nation. The 
development which now ensued was purely institutional 
and involved no progress in thought. The power of the 
priesthood as a political influence is observable as far back 
as the rise ? of the Fifth Dynasty, in the middle of the 
twenty-Sfth century B. C. In the Empire, however, 
vast temples, richly endowed, became an economic menace. 
Moreover, the great Pharaohs of this age began to recog- 
nize oracles of Amon as mandatory. Thutmose III was 
seated on his throne by a conspiracy of the priests of 
Amon, supported by an oracle of the great god recognizing 
him as king. 1 When Thutmose III, therefore, made the 
High Priest of Amon primate of all the priesthoods of 
Egypt, the chief sacerdotal official of the state, he was but 
paying his political debts. This Amonite papacy suffered 
severely at the hands of Ikhnaton, as we have seen. 
After his overthrow, however, it recovered all it had lost 
i BAR, II, 131-149. 


and much more. Ramses II even allowed an oracle of 
Amon to guide him in the appointment of the god's high 
priest, 1 and under such circumstances it was easy for the 
high priests of Amon to make the office hereditary. Un- 
able to resist the political power of this state within the 
state, a constant victim of its economic encroachments, 
Egypt rapidly degenerated into a sacerdotal state, and 
by 1100 B. C. the Pharaoh had yielded the sceptre to 
the head of the state church. It was in the course of this 
long development which placed the sacerdotal party in 
control of the throne, that the outward and official mani- 
festations of religion took on those forms of dignity and 
splendor such as no Oriental religion had before displayed. 
The sanctuaries of this age will always form one of the 
most imposing survivals from the ancient world. Not 
only in their grandeur as architecture, but also in their 
sumptuous equipment, these vast palaces of the gods 
lifted the external observances of religion to a plane of 
splendor and influence which they had never enjoyed 
before. Enthroned in magnificence which not even the 
sumptuous East had ever seen, Amon of Thebes became 
in the hands of his crafty priesthood a mere oracular source 
for political and administrative decisions. Even routine 
legal verdicts were rendered by the nod of the god, and 
such matters as wills and testaments were subject to his 
oracles. 2 The old prayer of the oppressed, that Amon 
might become the vizier of the poor man, was receiving 
a very literal fulfilment, and with results little foreseen 
by the men who had framed this prayer. As Thebes de- 
generated into a sacerdotal principality after 1000 B. C, 

1 Sethe, Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 44, 30 ff. 

2 For the most important of such oracles as yet known, see BAR, 
IV, 650-8, 725-8, 795, etc. 


and the great cities of the north, especially of the Delta, 
eclipsed the splendor of the old imperial capital, Anion 
slowly lost his pre-eminence, although he was not wholly 
neglected. Even the venerable supremacy of the Sun- 
god was encroached upon by the other gods of the north. 
On the other hand, it is evident that Osiris, who was more 
independent of state patronage and support, rather gained 
than lost in popularity. 

When the decadence, which had continued for five 
hundred years, was slowly transformed into a restoration, 
after 700 B. C, the creative age of inner development was 
forever past. Instead of an exuberant energy expressing 
itself in the spontaneous development of new forms and 
new manifestations, as at the beginning of the Empire, 
the nation fell back upon the past, and consciously en- 
deavored to restore and rehabilitate the vanished state of 
the old days before the changes and innovations intro- 
duced by the Empire. 1 Seen through the mist of two thou- 
sand years, what was to them ancient Egypt was endowed 
with the ideal perfection of the divine regime which had 
preceded it. In the endeavor to reconstitute modern 
religion, society, and government upon ancient lines, the 
archaizers must consciously or unconsciously have been 
constantly thwarted by the inevitable mutability of the 
social, political, and economic conditions of a race. The 
two thousand years which had elapsed since the Pyramid 
Age could not be annihilated. Through the deceptive 
mantle of antiquity with which they cloaked contemporary 
conditions, the inexorable realities of the present were 
discernible. The solution of the difficulty, when per- 
ceived, was the same as that attempted by the Hebrews 

1 These and the following remarks largely after the author's 
History of Egypt, pp. 570 jf. 


in a similar dilemma: it was but to attribute to the modern 
elements also a hoary antiquity, as the whole body of 
Hebrew legislation was attributed to Moses. The theoret- 
ical revival was thus rescued. 

The ancient mortuary texts of the pyramids were re- 
vived, and although frequently not understood, were 
engraved upon the massive stone sarcophagi. The Book 
of the Dead, which now received its-last redaction, shows 
plain traces of this influence. In the tomb-chapels we 
find again the fresh and pleasing pictures from the life 
of the people in marsh and meadow, in workshop and 
ship-yard. They are perfect reproductions of the relief 
scenes in the mastaba tombs of the Pyramid Age, so per- 
fect indeed that at the first glance one is not infrequently 
in doubt as to the age of the monument. Indeed a man 
named Aba, at Thebes, sent his artists to an Old Kingdom 
tomb near Siut to copy thence the reliefs for use in his 
own Theban tomb, because the owner of the ancient tomb 
was also named Aba. 

There is a large black granite stela in the British 
Museum, 1 a copy, dating from the dawn of the Restora- 
tion, of an ancient papyrus book of the Old Kingdom, a 
"work of the ancestors, which was eaten of worms." 
Thus the writings and sacred rolls of bygone days were 
now eagerly sought out, and, with the dust of ages upon 
them, they were collected, sorted, and arranged. The 
past was supreme. The priest who cherished it lived in 
a realm of shadows, and for the contemporary world he 
had no vital meaning. Likewise in Babylon the same 
retrospective spirit was now dominant in the reviving 
empire of Nebuchadnezzar. It was soon to take possession 

1 No. 797. See my essay in Zeitschr. fur aegypt. Sprache, 39, 
Tafel I, II, and infra, pp. 41-47, especially p. 4G, note. 


of the returning Hebrew exiles. The world was growing 
old, and men were dwelling fondly and wistfully on her 
far-away youth. In this process of conserving the old, 
the religion of Egypt sank deeper and deeper in decay, 
to become, what Herodotus found it, a religion of in- 
numerable external observances and mechanical usages, 
carried out with such elaborate and insistent punctilious- 
ness that the Egyptians gained the reputation of being 
the most religious of all peoples. But such observances 
were no longer the expression of a growing and develop- 
ing inner life, as in the days before the creative vitality 
of the race was extinct. To be sure, many of the finest 
of the old teachings continued as purely literary sur- 
vivals, and new ones unconsciously crept in, chiefly due 
to foreign influence. 1 

In the days of the Greek kings, the Osirian faith finally 
submerged the venerable Sun-god, with whose name the 
greatest movements in the history of Egyptian religion 
were associated, and when the Roman emperor became 
an Oriental Sun-god, sol inmctus, the process was in 
large measure due to the influence of Asiatic Solar religion 
rather than to the Solar Pharaoh, who, as we have seen in 
the Pyramid Texts, had been sovereign and Sun-god at 
the same time many centuries before such doctrines are 
discernible in Asia. Whether they are in Asia the result 
of Egyptian influence is a question still to be investigated. 
In any case, as Osiris-Apis or Serapis, Osiris gained the 
supreme place in the popular as well as the state religion, 
and through him the subterranean hereafter, rather than 

Especially Babylonian astrology, see Cumont's brilliant book, 
Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans, New York, 
1912, pp. 73-77, although the Egyptian origin of Ikhnaton's move- 
ment is too evident to make possible M. Cumont's suggestion of 
influences from Asia in it. 


the Sun-god's glorious celestial kingdom of the dead, 
passed over into the Roman world. The imposing melee 
of thought and religion from the most remote and racially 
divergent sources, with which the historian is confronted 
as he surveys the Mediterranean world at the beginning 
of the Christian era, was not a little modified by the 
current which constantly mingled with it from the Nile. 
It has not been the purpose of these lectures to include 
this period of far-reaching syncretism of the Grseco- 
Roman world; but as we stand at the close of the long 
religious development which we have been endeavoring 
to trace, we may ask ourselves the question whether the 
ancient religion of Egypt, as we have found it in old 
native sources long antedating Greek civilization, now 
passed out unalloyed into the great Mediterranean world. 
It has of course long since been evident that the religions 
of the Mediterranean, from the fourth century B. C. on- 
ward, or beginning perhaps even earlier, were gradually 
Orientalized, and in this process of Orientalization the 
progress of Christianity was but a single phenomenon 
among others like it. We all know that it was not the 
Christianity of Judea in the first decades after the cruci- 
fixion which conquered the Roman world. It seems 
equally evident that it was the religion of Egypt as viewed, 
interpreted, and apprehended by generations of Greeks, 
it was this Hellenized composite of old Egyptian religion 
and Greek preconceptions l which passed out into the 
Mediterranean world to make Isis a household word in 
Athens, to give her a sanctuary even in such a provincial 
city as Pompeii, and to leave such monuments in Rome 

1 Perhaps we should also add here the astrological elements which 
had invaded Egypt from Syria, and after being Egyptianized passed 
on to Rome. See Cumont, ibid., pp. 76-77. 


as Hadrian's obelisk on the Monte Pincio, which in 
Egyptian hieroglyphs still proclaims to the modern world 
not only the deification of the beautiful Greek youth, 
Hadrian's favorite, as " Osiris- Antinous," but at the same 
time the enthronement of the ancient mortuary god of 
Egypt in the palace of the Csesars. 

I believe it was Louis Agassiz who, after studying the 
resistless action of the Swiss glaciers and watching the 
massive boulders and fragments of rock brought down in 
the grip of the ice, to be dropped at the bidding of the 
summer sun in a wandering rampart of tumbled rocks 
skirting the mouth of the valley, at length realized that 
this glacial action had been going on for ages, and the 
imposing truth burst upon him that the geological proc- 
esses of past seons which have made the earth are still 
going on at the present day, that they have never ceased, 
that they will never cease. 

We have been tracing in broad lines the development 
of the religion of a great people, unfolding in the course 
of over three thousand years as the forces within and the 
forces around this ancient man wrought and fashioned 
his conception of the divine powers. God as discerned 
everywhere in the ancient Oriental world was a human 
experience. The ancient ideas of God are but the expres- 
sion of the best that man has felt and thought embodied 
in a supreme character of which he dreamed. What was 
intended by Ingersoll, I suppose, as a biting gibe, "An 
honest god is the noblest work of man," is nevertheless 
profoundly true. We have seen the Egyptian slowly 
gaining his honest god. We gained ours by the same 
process, beginning among the Hebrews. It would be 
well if we of the modern world as we look back over these 
ages lying behind us might realize with Agassiz in the 


geological world, 1 that religion is still in the making, that 
the processes which brought forth inherited religion have 
never ceased, that they are going on around us every day, 
and that they will continue as long as the great and com- 
plex fabric of man's life endures. 

1 It is, however, a remarkable fact in this connection, that Agassiz 
never accepted evolution in the organic world. 


Aba: proper name, 366 
Absorption of divine qualities, 129 
Abusir, 11, 70, 74, 78, 82 
Abydos, 26, 38, 39, 64, 86, 96, 100, 

159, 179, 256, 259, 285, 286, 287, 

288, 289, 341 
Administration, 238 
Admonitions of an Egyptian sage, 

Admonitions of Ipuwer, 204 #., 213, 

230, 243 n., 245, 249, 257, 318, 348 
Akhetaton: Tell el-Amarna, 322/., 

Akhikar, story of, 215, 247 
Alexander the Great, 16 
Amamu, coffin, 273 n. 
Amenemhet I : king, 202, 203 
Amenemhet II : king, 285 
Amenemhet III: king, 73 
"Amenhotep": meaning, 321 
Amenhotep III: king, 52, 310, 315, 

319, 320, 322 
Amenhotep IV: king, 319 ff. 
Ameni of Benihasan, 240 n., 248, 

Amenmose: scribe, 271 
Amon: god, 310, 318, 321, 322, 342, 

344, 345, 346, 349, 350, 351, 352, 

353, 360, 363, 364 
Amon-Re: god, 318 
Amon-Re-Wennofer: Osiris, 360 
Ancestors, respect for, 270 
Ani and wife: scribe, 306/. 
Anubis: god of the dead, 27, 33, 37, 

62, 100, 113, 131, 149, 225, 259, 

260, 261, 266, 270, 284, 290, 304, 

Api, Amarna hymn of, 316 n. 
Apophis: deity, 283 
Art as affected by Aton faith, 336 
" Ascendest": use of word, 161 
"Ascending": meaning, 276 n. 
Ascending by Day: Chapters of, 

276, 294 
Ascent of the sky, 109, 154 
Atlas: Greek deity, 11 
Aton as universal creator, 332 
Aton faith, 322 ff., 347 

Aton, fatherly solicitude, 334 

Aton, source of life, 333 

Atum: Sun-god, 8, 9, 11, 13, 18, 19, 
36, 42, 44, 45, 76, 96, 107, 108, 
111, 112, 113, 123, 125, 127, 154, 
157, 161, 185, 254, 275, 279, 282, 
319 ff., 346/., 350, 354, 361 

Ba: soul, 56, 57, 59, 61, 62, 265 n. 

Ba, soul, began to exist at death, 56 

Babi: demon, 303 

Barque of Osiris, 288 

Bastet: goddess, 173 

Bata: god in folk-tale, 358/. 

Beetle, sacred, 308 

Beliefs, archaic, 50 

Ben (ben-ben) at Heliopolis, 11, 76, 

Blessedness hereafter. See Felicity 

Bodily members enumerated, 110 

Body, part of personality, 55 

Body, permanent survival, 70 

Body, resuscitation of, 57, 61 

"Book of him who is in the Nether 
World," 297 

Book of the Dead, 22, 34, 134, 253 n., 
272, 273, 274, 277, 281, 284, 293, 
294, 295, 296, 297, 299, 301, 308, 
309, 318 n., 337 n., 338, 341, 354 

Book of the Dead: genesis of, 293/. 

"Book of the Gates," 297 

"Book of the Two Ways," 283, 297 

Busiris: Dedu, 39 

Buto: capital of Delta, 86, 118, 145 

Byblos: place name, 26 

Calendar of festivals, 68, 77, 260, 

267 n., 290 
Cartouches : use of, 320 
Celebrations, religious, 68 
Celestial hereafter, 101, 159, 274, 

Celestial hereafter not Osirian, 142, 

Celestial Nile, 122 
Celestial ocean, 10 
Celestial revenues of Pharaoh, 131 
Ceremonial transgressions, 303 




Ceremonial washings, 254 

Chapel, tomb-, 62 

Character, personal, 179, 238, 302, 

Charm: quoted, 133 
Charm to open gates of sky, 114 
Charms, 93, 94, 135, 292, 307 
Charms against dangers of here- 
after, 296 
Charms, collections of, 281 
Charms in mortuary texts, 292 
Charms in Pyramid Texts, 80 n. 
Charms, Pyramid Texts used as, 94 
Charms: Ushebtis, 295 
Coffin Texts, 23 n., 253, 255, 273, 
274, 276, 277, 278, 280, 281, 293, 
Coffins, inscribed, 272 
Commercial relations, 314 
Communion with god, 354, 355 
Concrete forms of thought, 246 
"Confession," negative, 301 
Conscience, 198, 297, 354 
Crimes denied, 302 
Cult, 7 

Dahshur, pyramid, 73, 81 

Daily life, pictured in Pyramid 

Texts, 88 
Dangers of hereafter, 282 
Dead, designations of, 56 n. 
Dead, dreaded as demons, 292 
Dead lived near the tomb, 51 
Dead, malice of, 284 
Dead, place of the, 99 
Dead, realms of the, 70 ff., 118 ff. 
Dead, required restoration of senses, 

Dead, sojourn in Nether World, 276 
Dead, transformations of, 277, 296 
Dead, two beliefs as to abode, 51 
Death, protest against, 91 
Death, views of, 190 
Debhen: official, 65 
Declaration of innocence, 301 ff., 

Dedication of pyramid and temple, 

Der el-Bahri: Thebes, 16, 287 n. 
"Devouress": demon, 306 
Dewamutef, son of Horus, 112, 133 
Dewat, 122, 136, 139, 144 
Dialogue form of discourse, 247 
Dialogue of a Misanthrope, 188 ff., 

199, 203, 215, 230, 238, 245, 246, 

250, 358 n. 

East: place of ascent of sky, 116 
"East": place of the dead, 101, 102 
"East of the sky" more sacred than 

West, 104 
East of the Sky, place of living again, 

Edfu: place name, 9 
Editors of Pyramid Texts, 93 
Egyptian thinking, graphic, 7, 219/., 

Eloquent Peasant, tale of the. See 

Endowments, testamentary, 67, 81, 

"Ennead": meaning, 42 
Equipment of the dead, material, 

75, 84 
"Equipped": meaning, 169 
"Equipped" mouths, 94 
"Equipped" one, 60 
Ethical decadence, 309 
Ethical ordeal, future. See Judg- 
Ethical requirements, 338 
Ethical significance of Osiris, 255 
Ethical teaching in Osirian faith, 

Ethics, 336 
Exorcism, 292 
"Expeller of Deceit," 175 
Eye of Horus. See Horus-Eye 
Eye of Khnum, 107 

Faculties, reconstitution of, 61 

Falcon, 133, 274, 320 

Falcon, sacred bird of Sun-god, 109 

Falcon, symbol of Horus, 9 

Feast, oldest religious, 39 

Feasts, calendar of. See Calendar 

Feasts, list of, 267 

Felicity in hereafter, 135, 177, 257 

Felicity, not dependent on material 

means, 84 
Ferry-boat over Lily-lake, 105 /. 
Ferrying over, 155, 157 
Ferryman, 119, 130, 157 
Ferryman of Re, 172 
Festivals, Osirian, 289 
Fetekta, servant of Re, 119 
Field of Life, 136 
Field of Offering, 133, 137 
Field of Rushes, 161, 172 
Filial piety, 167 
"First of the Westerners," 38, 100, 

104 n., 143, 159, 162, 258, 286, 289 
Floats of reeds, two, 108, 158 



Folk-religion: Osirian, 285 

Folk-tales, 10, 46 

"Followers of Horus," 171, 306 

"Followers of Osiris," 158 

Food supply in hereafter, 129, 281 

Forty-two gods of judgment, 299 ff. 

Funeral barge, 286 

Funerary furniture, prehistoric, 50 

Funerary ritual, 93 

Future, ultimate, 196 

Gastjti, bull of the sky (Saturn), 112 
Gates of celestial country opened, 

Geb: Earth-god, 9, 11, 18, 21, 22, 24, 

30, 34, 36, 41, 42, 58, 63, 111, 113, 

117, 118 n., 139, 143, 172, 173, 280 
Gebga: mysterious scribe, 282 
Genii of the dead, four, 156, 157 
Gizeh: place name, 258 
Gizeh, cemetery, 83, 84 
Gizeh, pyramids of, 15 
"Glorious," 56 n. 
"Glorious," dead called, 94 
"Glorious one," 60, 148, 162, 265 n. 
"Gods," 322 

Gods, possible hostility of, 115 
Graphic forms of thought, 7, 219 /., 

"Grasper of Forelocks," 127 
"Great God, Lord of the Sky," 171 

Hammurabi, laws of, 246 

Hapi, son of Horus, 112, 133 

Hapu: vizier, 239 n. 

Hapuseneb: High-priest of Amon, 

319 n. 
Harakhte: Horus of Horizon, 9, 109, 

121, 155, 156, 318, 320 
Hardedef : son of Khufu, 182, 184 
Harhotep, tomb of, 256 n. 
Harhotep: tomb inscriptions, 273 n., 

282 n. 
Harkhuf of Elephantine, 169 
Harmhab: king, 345 
Harsaphes: god, 361 
Hathor, the eye of Re: goddess, 124, 

253, 278, 279 
Hatshepsut: queen, 287 n., 319 n. 
" Heart" : seat of intelligence, 44, 55, 

Heart scarab, 308, 339, 340 n. 
Heliopolis, 10, 11, 15, 28, 33, 34, 40, 

43, 44, 71, 72, 76, 110. 116, 118 n., 

147, 148, 152, 175, 176, 199, 250, 

251, 275. 281, 303, 321, 354, 361 

Heliopolitan theology, 149, 336 
Hepzefl of Slut, 67, 259, 270, 289 
Hereafter as a place of dangers, 281 
Hereafter, conception of, 278 
Hereafter, continuation of life in, 

49/., 81, 280 
Hereafter, dangers of, 296 
Hereafter, democratization of, 252, 

Hereafter, glorious, 103 
Hereafter, material welfare in, 165 
Hereafter, Osirian, 285 
Hereafter, Osirian doctrine, 159 
Hereafter, royal felicity in, 88 
Hereafter, royal survival in, 75 
Hereafter, sojourn in, 53 
Hereafter, Solar and Osirian concep- 
tions, 140 
Hereafter, views of, 295 
Heralds announcing the king, 118 
Herodotus, 277, 288, 290, 367 
High Priest of Amon, 319 
Hor: architect, 315, 326 n. 
Horus: god, 8, 9, 10, 18, 26, 28, 29, 
30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 
41, 42, 53, 57, 59, 62, 63, 78, 81, 
86, 100, 105, 108, 112, 118, 119, 
120, 122, 133, 140, 143, 145, 147, 
148, 152, 154, 160, 162, 164, 166, 
172, 173, 175, 236, 254, 255, 278, 
284, 288, 290, 303, 306, 345 
Horus, battle with Set, 31 
Horus, filial piety of, 29 
Horus, good offices to the king, 146 
Horus of Dewat, 133 
Horus of the East, 155 /. 
Horus of the Gods, 155/. 
Horus of the Horizon, 155/., 318 
Horus of the Shesmet, 155/. 
Horus, Solar, 41 
Horus, sons of, 111, 112 n., 133, 156, 

Horus-Eye, 12, 13, 31, 59, 78, 104, 

107 n., 162, 278 
Horuses, four, 9, 114, 124, 133, 154, 

155, 156, 157, 172 
Hostile creatures to dead, 51 
Hymn, magical, to Sun-god, 121 
Hymn to Amon, 345/., 349, 350 
Hymn to Aton, royal, 329 
Hymn to Osiris, 348 
Hymn to Osiris as Nile, 96 
Hymn to Sun, earliest, 13 
Hymn to Sun-god, 124, 310, 312, 

Hymn to the Sky-goddess, 96, 148 



Hymn to the Sun, 95, 96, 98, 211 n. 

Hymns, ancient religious, 93 

Hymns not necessarily charms, 95 

Hymns, old, 355 

Hymns, religious, 97 

Hymns to Aton, 321, 323, 336, 361 

Hymns to the gods, 17 

Ideals, practical, 356 
Ikhernofret: officer, 287 ff. 
"Ikhnaton": meaning, 322 
Ikhnaton: king, 344, 345 n., 363 
Imhotep: architect of Zoser, 182, 

Immorality, 356 
Immortality, 179, 184 
" Immortality " not an Egyptian be- 
lief, 61 
Imperialism, effect on religion, 313 
Imperial power, reaction on 

thought, 5 
" Imperishable Ones " : the dead, 101 
Imperishable Stars, 92, 107, 130, 

134, 136, 137, 138, 139, 149, 158, 

159, 163, 279 
Imset, son of Horus, 112, 133 
Incense, significance of, 126 
Inmutef : priestly title, 14 
Innocence, declaration of, 301./F., 308 
Innocence of evil-doing, 168 
Installation of the Vizier, 239, 246, 

248, 249, 348 
Instruction of Amenemhet, 247, 

249 n. 
Intef: baron, 271 

Intelligence, part of personality, 55 
Inti of Deshasheh, 171 
Ipuwer, Admonitions of, 204 ff., 213, 

230, 243 n., 245, 249, 257, 318, 348 
Irreconcilable beliefs, 163/. 
Isesi: king, 228 
Isis: goddess, 9, 11, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30, 

32, 34, 37, 38, 39, 57, 104 n., 113. 

119, 125, 135, 137, 145, 147, 154, 

156, 162, 286, 290, 304, 306, 368 

Jackal, a god of the west, 120 
Judge in the hereafter, 176 
Judgment, future, 169, 173, 179, 

253, 256, 294, 297, 299 ff., 309, 338 
Judgment: Osirian, 307 
"Justice," 174 n. 
Justice, 238, 242, 244, 252, 253 
Justice to the poor, 226 
Justification of the dead, 54, 178, 

197, 254, 255, 339 

Justification, Solar, 174 
Justification through magic, 309 
"Justified," 33, 147, 175, 256 n. 

Ka (kas),45, 52/., 55, 57 n., 69 n., 76, 

77, 111, 112, 122, 130, 134, 137, 

174, 267, 275, 283, 284, 286, 305, 

Ka a superior genius, 52 
Ka, exclusive possession of king, 55 
Ka, not an element of personality, 

Kebehet, daughter of Anubis, 112, 

113, 116, 136 
Kebehsenuf, son of Horus, 112, 133 
Kegemne: vizier, 228 
Kerkeru: scribe of Osiris, 277 
Khafre: king, 15, 68 
Khai: proper name, 352 
Khekheperre-sonbu: priest, 199 

200, 230, 238, 247, 250 
Khenti-Amentiu : "First of the 

Westerners," 38, 143 
Khepri: Sun-god, 9, 10, 13, 112, 161, 

Kheti: vizier, 241, 244 
Khnumhotep of Benihasan, 267, 

271, 286 
Khufu: king, 15, 182, 184, 271 
King. See also Pharaoh 
King as counsellor of Re, 120 
King became Osiris, 145/. 
King identified with god, 160 
King not exempt from judgment, 

172, 177 
Kingship, conception of, 17 
Kingship, relation of Osiris to, 39 
Kingship, the idealized, 251 

Ladder to sky, 111, 112, 116, 153, 
156, 158 

" Landing" : euphemism for "death," 

Laws of Egypt, 248 

Lexicography of Pyramid Texts, 90 

Life after death, 49 /. See also Here- 

Life-giving power of Aton, Sun-god, 

Life hereafter, indefinite, 81 

"Lily-lake," 105/., 116, 125 n., 139, 

Literary quality of Pyramid Texts, 

" Look-behind, " the ferryman, 105/. 

Luxor, 16, 52 



Mafdet: deity, 133 

Magic, 284, 309. See also Charms 

Magic and magic power, 94, 95 

Magic in hereafter, 290, 292, 307 

Magic jar, 106 

Magical agencies, 281, 339 

Magical charm, 338 n. 

Magical charms, 93 

Magical devices, 132 

Magical equipment, mortuary, 60 

Magical formulae, 291 

Magical hymn to Sun-god, 121 

Magical power, 116 

Mastaba reliefs, 113 

Mat: goddess of truth, 173, 255, 338 

Material equipment of the dead, 62, 

Medum, pyramids, 83 

Memphis, 43, 241, 361 

Memphite theology, 46, 166 

Menkure: king, 15 

Meri: architect, 258 

Merire: Pepi I, 172 

Mernere: king, 19, 77, 84, 85, 108, 
160, 172 

Messianic kingdom, 251 

Messianism, 212 if. 

Methen, keeper of gate of sky, 119 

"Mighty": used of the dead, 61 

Migration of literary materials, 215 

Mnevis: sacred bull, 321 n. 

Mohammed, 234 n. 

Monotheism, 6, 315 

Monotheistic phrases, 347 

"Mooring' ' : euphemism for ' 'death, ' ' 
92, 186 

Moral aspirations limited, 176 

Moral consciousness, 37, 306, 336 

Moral decadence, 209 

Moral distinctions, 309 

Moral earnestness, 238 

Moral ideals, 238 

Moral ideas, 8 

Moral life obligation to, 187 

Moral obligations, 250, 251 

Moral ordeal in future. See Judg- 

Moral requirements, 253 

Moral responsibility, 170, 253, 307, 

Moral sense, 33, 309 

Moral sense, emergence of, 165 

Moral thinking, 252 

Moral unworthiness, 251 

Moral unworthiness of society, 202 

Moral values, 5 

Moral worthiness, 173, 304 
Moral worthiness, claims of, 167 
Morning Star, 133, 134, 138, 173, 

Mortuary belief dominated by 

magic, 284 
Mortuary contracts, 260 
Mortuary gifts, 258, 270 
Mortuary inscriptions, 248, 285 
Mortuary literature, 272 
Mortuary magical equipment, 60 
Mortuary maintenance, 78 
Mortuary paintings, 56 
Mortuary practices, 259, 362 
Mortuary practices, Osirian, 62 
Mortuary priest, servant of the ka, 

Mortuary priests, 98, 270 
Mortuary processions, 260, 266 
Mortuary statuettes: Ushebtis, 295 
Mortuary texts, 253, 273, 366 
Mortuary texts for king only, 99 
Mortuary texts on rolls, 293 
Mummy, devices to make it a living 

body, 59 
Mythology of Egypt, 46 
Myths, 12. 85, 355 
Myths, fragments of old, 93 
Myths, lost, 91 
Myths, old, 96 

Nakht-Amon: painter, 351 
Name, 107, 116, 134, 301 
Name, good, on earth, 188 
National organization, first, 5 
Nebre: painter, 351 
Neferhotep: priest, 182, 185 
Neferhotepes, queen, 82 
Neferirkere, king, 16, 78, 82 
Neferkere: Pepi II, 139, 146, 174 
"Negative confession," 301 
Neit: goddess, 125 
Nekheb, 130 
Nekhtyoker: prince, 271 
Nekure, prince, 68 
Nemaathap: royal mother, 81 
Neper: harvest god, 277 
Nephthys: goddess, 9, 11, 26, 27, 30, 

32, 34, 38, 59 n., 97, 104 n., 113, 

119, 125, 137, 145, 147, 154, 156, 

162, 304 
Neshmet barque, 289 
Nether World, 99, 144, 160, 276, 281 
Nether World the domain of Osiris, 

New Year celebrations, 261 



Nile, 21 

Nile as Osiris, 333 

Nile, influence on Egyptian relig- 
ion, 8 

Nile-god, 52 

Nun: god, 34, 125, 133 

Nuserre: king, 82 

Nut: Sky-goddess, 11, 24, 95, 123, 
133, 135, 136, 137, 139, 143, 148, 
161, 162, 279, 317 

Obelisk, 15 

Obelisk: symbol of Sun-god, 70 

Offering ritual, 79, 90 n., 150, 151, 

Offerings for king, 78 
Offerings for the dead, 62 
Offerings to the dead : Horus-eye, 59 
Official conduct, 238 
Onkhu: priest, 200 
Ophir of the Old Testament, 66 
Orion: the sky, 128, 139, 144, 277, 

Osirian editing of texts, 172 n., 276 
Osirian ethics, 309 
Osirian faith, 37 /., 78, 102, 139, 

157, 176, 274, 285, 304, 307, 310, 

Osirian faith: popular religion, 140, 

Osirian litigation at Heliopolis, 175 

Osirian "passion play," 26, 287, 
290, 341 

Osirian point of view, 42 

Osirian theology, 43, 148 

Osirianization of Egyptian religion, 
142 ff., 176 

Osirianization of hereafter, 276 

Osirianization of Pyramid Texts, 
150 ff. 

Osiris: god, 8, 9, 11, 18 if., 25, 26, 27, 
28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 
40, 42, 53, 57 n., 59, 62, 73 n., 74, 
75, 76, 96, 97, 100, 104 n., 119, 
139, 140, 143, 144, 145, 147, 148, 
149, 150, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 

158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 
170, 171, 174, 176, 188, 250, 251. 
252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 258, 259, 
276, 277, 278, 284, 285, 286, 288, 
289, 290, 299, 301, 304, 305, 306, 
309, 310, 337, 338, 340, 341, 348, 
360, 362, 365, 367 

Osiris, a mortuary god, 54 
Osiris and Set, correlation of, 40 
Osiris as judge, 255 

Osiris as Nile, 18, 146 

Osiris as sea or ocean, 20 

Osiris, associated with vegetable 

life, 22 
Osiris barque, 256 n. 
Osiris celestialized, 149 
Osiris, charges against, 32 
Osiris, identifications of, 23 
Osiris, identified with soil or earth 

Osiris, lord of Dewat, 150 
Osiris myth, 24, 37, 63, 145, 152, 251, 

284, 287, 288, 290 
Osiris receives the kingdom, 36 
Osiris Solarized, 160 
Osiris, source of fertility, 20 
Osiris, the principle of life, 23 
Osiris, triumph of, 33 
Osiris-Apis: Serapis, 367 
Osiris- Wennofer: god, 306 

Paheri: prince, 298 
Pai: painter, 351 
Pantheism, 312, 357 
Pantheistic speculations, 362 
Papremis: place name, 288, 290 
"Passion play": Osirian, 287, 290, 

Pepi: king, 53, 57, 58, 76, 78, 81, 88 

89, 91, 92, 94, 102, 106, 107, 108, 

109, 110, 111, 113, 114, 115, 116. 

117, 118, 126, 130, 131, 132, 133, 

134, 136, 137, 150, 153, 158, 162 
163, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 

Pepi I: king, 19, 84, 85, 154, 158 
Pepi I, addressed as Osiris, 19 
Pepi II, king, 19, 66, 76, 79, 81, 85, 

111, 112 
Pepi II, as Osiris, 19 
Persen: noble, 82 
Personal aspiration to god, 349 
Personal relation to god, 349 
Personality, Egyptian conception, 

51, 55, 61, 70, 179, 181 
Personality never dissociated from 

body, 56 
Pessimism, 203, 216, 249, 257 
Pharaoh, 15, 16, 17, 64, 70, 75, 81, 

100, 103, 105, 114, 117, 130 n., 

135, 154, 173, 240, 272, 310, 318, 
319, 320, 364 

Pharaoh a cosmic figure, 125 
Pharaoh as priest before Re, 121 
Pharaoh as son of Sun-god, 122 
Pharaoh becomes a great god, 123 



Pharaoh, deceased, as scribe of Re, 

Pharaoh, entrance to sky, 149 

Pharaoh, identified with Re, 122 

Pharaoh on Sun-god's throne, 124 

Pharaoh preying on the gods, 127 

Pharaoh receives homage as Sun- 
god, 125 

Pharaoh. See also King 

Phoenix, 11, 71, 72, 77, 274, 278, 296, 

Physical restoration of dead, 57 

Pilgrimages to Abydos, 285 

Pleasure, life of, 194 

Plutarch, 25, 28 

Poetic form of the Pyramid Texts, 

Poor, complaints of the, 219 

Popularization of mortuary cus- 
toms, 272 

Portrait statues, 65, 168, 179, 259, 

Prayer, 355 

Prayer for the dead: effectiveness, 

Prayers for dead king, 93 

Prayers in Pyramid Texts, 80 n. 

Prayers used as charms, 95 

"Prepared" one, 60 

Priesthood, 179, 309, 342 

Priesthood of Amon, 319, 321 

Priesthood, political, 363 

Priesthood, state, 142 

Priests, maintenance of, 81 

"Primaeval," title of Osiris, 22 

Privileges accruing from endow- 
ments, 68 

Procession, Osirian, 289 

Psychology of the dead, 61 

Ptah: god, 11, 43, 44, 45 n., 47, 278, 

Ptah-tatenen : god, 45, 46 

Punt: Ophir, 66 

Purification of the dead, 103, 155, 

Pyramid, 15, 140 

Pyramid causeway, 74 

Pyramid complex, 74 

Pyramid residence city, 75 

Pyramid, sacred symbol, 70 

Pyramid, symbol of Sun-god, 320 

Pyramid temple, 74 

Pyramid Texts, 10, 12, 18, 19, 20, 
25, 26, 31, 33 n., 34, 35, 38, 40, 52, 
56, 57, 60, 61, 63, 69 n., 72, 73 n., 
77, 79, 84, 85, 87, 97, 101. 102, 

103, 104, 114, 115, 122, 124, 126, 
131, 135, 142, 144, 145, 146, 148, 
149, 150, 155, 158, 159, 163, 171, 
172, 175, 176 n., 177, 178, 209, 
250, 251, 254, 272, 273, 274, 275, 
276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 
285, 294, 310, 312, 318, 320, 358 

Pyramid Texts: a compilation, 92 

Pyramid Texts: a terra incognita, 90 

Pyramid Texts: function to insure 
king felicity in hereafter, 88, 92 

Pyramid Texts not a coherent whole, 

Pyramid Texts not used by nobles, 

Pyramid Texts Osirianized, 150 ff. 

Pyramid Texts recited, 98 

Pyramid-tomb, 72, 74 

Pyramidion (ben-ben), 71 

Pyramids, 178, 179 

Pyramids, inscribed, 84 

Pyramids: material equipment, 84 

Ramses II: king, 364 

Ramses IV: king, 18 

Rationalism of Ikhnaton, 333 

Re: Sun-god, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 24, 33, 
36, 43, 53, 66, 78, 79, 87, 102, 103, 
106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 115, 
117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 
124, 125, 126, 131, 132, 133, 134, 
135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 148, 
149, 152, 154, 159, 160, 161, 162, 
163, 164, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175, 
185, 187, 196, 211, 221, 225, 245, 
250, 251, 252, 253, 274, 275, 277, 
279, 281, 285, 304, 305, 310, 324, 
328, 337, 346, 350 

Re-Atum: Solar god, 10, 119, 120, 
139, 160, 161, 274 

Re-Harakhte: god, 354 

Re-Khepri: god, 21 

Reed floats, two, 108, 158 

Rekhmire: vizier, 239 n. 

Religious development institutional, 

Religious faculty, the, 4 

Religious literature, ancient, 96 

Renaissance, 365 

Responsibility, personal, 297 

Resurrection of Osiris, 31 /., 39, 160, 
288, 341 

Resurrection the act of a god, 57 

" Righteousness," 174-5, 253, 254 n., 

Ritual at Abydos, 96 



Ritual for benefit of king, 77 
Ritual, funerary and offering, 93 
Ritual of Aton, 329 
Ritual of offerings, 79 n. 
Ritual of worship, 93 
Royal cemetery, Abydos, 64 

Sahure, king, 82, 168 

Sakkara: pyramids at, 84 

Satis, goddess of cataract, 103 

Scarab, 31 

Scepticism, 179, 185, 257 

Sebek-o: coffin of, 73 n. 

Sebni of Elephantine, 62, 65 

Sed-Feast, 39 

Sehetepibre: stela, 258 n. 

Sehpu: herald of king, 118 

Sekhem: son of Osiris, 152 

Sekhmet: goddess, 82 

Self-consciousness, 198 

Serapis: Osiris, 367 

Serket: goddess, 125 

Serpent-charms, 95, 135 

Sesenebnef: official, 253 

Sesostris I: king, 71, 202, 258, 286 

Sesostris II : king, 199 

Sesostris III: king, 287 

Set: god, 14, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 

35, 36, 40, 41, 53, 59, 78, 79, 104, 

105, 112, 118 n., 119, 125, 143, 

152, 153, 154, 157, 161, 166, 288 
Set, enemy of Osiris, 41 
Set, symbol of darkness, 40 
Set-Horus feud, Osirian absorption 

of, 41 
Seti I: king, 20 
Shesha, 112 
Shesmu, 128 
Shu: god, 11, 19, 34, 77, 113, 114, 

133, 360 
Sky, east of, place of living again, 

Sky, place of future blessedness, 99 
Snefru: king, 81, 82, 228 
Social classes, 246 
Social conditions, 208 
Social ethics, 228 
Social forces, 199 ff. 
Social ideals, 212, 214/. 
Social justice, 5, 216, 226, 243, 244, 

246, 249, 252, 349, 353, 356 
Society, redemption of, 215 
Sokar: god, 21, 175 
Solar barque, 122, 130, 253, 283 
Solar faith, 74, 102, 176, 310, 319, 

338, 346 

Solar faith: state theology, 140, 142 

Solar henotheism, 43 

Solar hereafter, 139, 145 

Solar monotheism, 322 

Solar pantheism, 360 

Solar theology, 43, 148, 149, 160, 
250, 312, 313, 321, 336, 337 

Solar universalism, 319 

Solarization of Osiris, 250 

"Son of Re": title of kings, 15 

Song of mourning, 179/. 

Song of the Harper, 180/., 185, 191, 
194, 250 

Song, palace, 17 

Soped: Solar god, 74 n. 

Sothis, star of Isis, 22, 284 

Sovereignty of Re, 174 

Speculation among common people, 

State religion: Solar, 285 

Statues, portrait funerary, 69 

Status of dead king, 120 

Stelee erected at Abydos, 285 

Subterranean hereafter, 159-160, 
276, 277, 310, 367 

Subterranean journey of the dead, 

Subterranean kingdom of the dead, 

Sun as Re, 10 

Sun, influence on Egyptian relig- 
ion, 8 

Sun's disk : symbol of Aton, 320 

Sun-god, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 25, 
39, 40, 45 n., 62, 70, 71, 72, 76, 78, 
100, 101, 103, 105, 106, 109, 111, 
112, 115, 116, 120, 121, 122, 129, 
131, 142, 155, 157, 158, 159, 171, 
176, 188, 196, 211, 245, 251, 253, 
274, 275, 304, 308, 309, 310, 312, 
313, 317, 319, 320, 322, 323, 331, 
337, 353, 359, 360, 365 

Sun-god and Osiris, correlation of, 39 

Sun-god, identification with, 274 
Sun-god supreme, 12 
Sun-god's realm, 315 
Sun-gods, old local, 43 
Sun-hymn, earliest, 13 
Sun-hymn used as charm, 98 
Suti: architect, 315, 326 n. 
Symbol of god Aton, 320 

Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 
228 n., 230, 239, 245, 249, 250 

Tale of the Two Brothers. 21, 26, 
136 n., 215, 216, 358/. 



" Teaching" of Ikhnaton, 340 
Tefnut: goddess, 11, 19, 77, 114, 133 
Tell el-Amarna, 322 /. 
Teti: king, 57, 59, 85, 106, 114, 123, 

133, 137, 138, 142, 147, 154, 155, 

158, 178 
Thoth: god, 12, 34, 35, 45, 81, 107, 

119, 129, 137, 147, 224, 254, 255, 

278, 284, 288, 289, 290, 304, 305, 

Thutenakkt: official, 217 ff. 
Thutmose I: king, 313 
Thutmose III: king, 239 n., 298, 

310, 313, 314, 318, 363 
Thutmose IV: king, 239 n. 
Tomb, 257 

Tomb at Abydos, 285 
Tomb-building, 258 
Tomb decoration, 262, 366 
Tomb: duty of son to provide, 63 
Tomb, monumental, 62 
Tomb, royal, 75, 103 
Tomb, royal, of sacred significance, 

Tombs, 178, 259, 362 
Tombs of First Dynasty, 64 
Tombs, restoration of, 270 
Tombs: Tell el-Amarna, 323 
Translation of king to sky, 137 /. 
Transmigration of souls, 277 
Tree of life, 133 
"Triumphant," 33 
Troja: quarries, 65, 258 
"Truth," 166, 225 n., 299 n., 304, 

Tutenkhamon : king, 344 /. 
Tutu, Amarna hymn of, 316 n. 
"Two Truths," 34 

Unis: king, 18, 58, 85, 87, 91, 93, 98, 
100, 107, 109, 110, 111, 113, 116, 
119, 120, 123, 126, 128, 129, 130, 
132, 137, 146, 150, 151, 153, 154, 
158, 174, 178, 320 

Unis, king, identified with Nile, 18 

Universalism, 314, 315, 348 

Universalism, Solar, 331 

Unweariable stars, 279 

Upwawet: god, 32, 145, 259, 260, 
264, 266, 270, 288, 289 

Urseus, 110 

Usages of religion, 7 

Userkaf: king, 68, 167 

Ushebtis: Respondents, 295, 340 n. 

"Utterances" : Pyramid Texts, 93, 98 

"Victorious," 33 

Vignettes in Book of Dead, 294 

Vital principle identified with breath, 

Vizier: vizierate, 240, 243 
Vocabulary of Pyramid Texts, 90 
Votive offerings, 287 
Voyage with Re across the sky, 121 

Wag-feast, 266 

Wealth, 357 

Wennofer: Osiris, 289, 299, 306 

Weshptah: vizier, 66 

"West" the place of dead, 100, 101 

Wisdom literature, 227 n. 

Wisdom of Ptahhotep, 216, 226 ff., 

240, 245, 246, 252, 339 
World-religion, 332 
Woser: vizier, 239 n. 

Yemen-kau, 139 

Uneg: son and body-servant of Re, 

Zatj: name, 64, 66, 167 
Zoser: king, 182, 184 

Date Due